Mon, 27 May 2019
Sorolla in the Sun

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 JoaquĆ­n 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.

Below: Sewing the Sail, Oil, 1896

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" :

Below: Packaging Raisins, Oil, 1901

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.


Mon, 13 May 2019
Portraits 2019

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.

Below: Floating Life No 2 (detail), Jie Cai, Oil, 120x80cm

All the pictures can be seen here. As I say, some amazing works as usual. More this year I think.