I've been to the Sorolla exhibition at the National Gallery a few times now (four?), including the warm and sunny Easter bank holiday last month. A perfect show for the weather because the paintings are bright and sunny as well; some wonderful work. I had never heard of Spanish artist Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida until the gallery started to trail this exhibition last year, using a painting (Sewing the Sail, 1896. Detail above) that immediately grabbed my attention.
He can really paint: in the grand style of a John Singer Sargent and also an almost impressionistic capture of movement, light and colour. Some paintings have a very bold use of light and shadow; consider "Packaging Raisins" :
In some of his pictures the paint is spread in a very rough and thick impasto style: thick paint and large brushstrokes, surprising to see. Not an impressionist by any means but a modern painter, with some large canvases almost approaching abstraction. It's a shame we don't seem to have any of his work in this country, at least in public. I think he ranks with the greats.
Another year and another visit to the Mall Galleries for the 2019 Royal Society of Portrait Painters exhibition. There are a lot of really stunning paintings on display and the show is well worth a visit.
Below is some detail from a painting Floating Life No 2 by Jie Cai. The realism and level of detail is truly astonishing: the painting of the bubbles is beautifully done. I think bravura is the word.
All the pictures can be seen here. As I say, some amazing works as usual. More this year I think.