Beach at Valencia Joaquin Sorolla Buy Art Prints Now
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Tom Gurney BSc (Hons) is an art history expert with over 20 years experience
Published on June 19, 2020 / Updated on October 14, 2023
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Beach at Valencia is an oil on canvas genre painting done in 1908 in Spain. The paint depicts the intensity of the beach light, a golden light combined with the blue brilliance of the ocean. Sorolla was among the few artists who are best known for the depictions of the beach life and the water scenery.

The painting's viewpoint is elevated, and the horizon is in the background and is hardly visible. The technique used in the paint is a conversion of photography and it elevates the viewer from observer to participant in the paint. The paint gives a sense of carefreeness as well as frivolity and calm. Beach at Valencia serves to capture moments, just like a photograph. The foreground of the paint has 5 ladies who are sorting fish in baskets, and each woman has her basket full. Slightly behind them is a figure of a man, possibly the fisherman in a large sun hat and black outfit. All the woman wear head scarfs with the exception of one, who is seen staring right at the viewer, her right hand over her face to protect her eyes from the scorching beach sun. The low sun appears from the direction of the viewer and casts long shadows behind the figures it meets. This also creates a mysterious environment as the viewer is left wondering what the lady could be staring at.

Also visible are two castles heading straight to the beach for a wash or to pull the fisher's boats from the ocean. Farther into the background, four boats are seen floating seamlessly. The sea shimmers in various shades of blue, which the painter used in elongated brushstrokes. Curls of white foam can be seen riding on waves along the midsection of the paint, besides where the boats are floating. The dominant color of the image is golden brown which forms the sand, the women's clothes, and the boats. The light is clearly a characteristic of the early evening of a summer day. The lighting effects under the setting sun is a clear style for Joaquin, who represented Impressionism as a special form of neo-impressionism.

Additionally, he studied with Jose Benlliure, Emilio Sala and Jose Villegas Cordero while back in Rome. Sometimes, the influence of his friend, Velazquez, was evident as in the portrait My Family done in 1901. His legacy lives in the influence he had on Spanish painters such as Albert Pia Rubio and Julio Romero, and his work is represented in museums all over Spain, Europe. Among his work includes Joaquin Sorolla Garcia vestido de Blanco of 1896, Children on the Seashore of 1903, Beach at Valencia of 1908, and The Horses Bath of 1909.

Beach at Valencia in Detail Joaquin Sorolla