The best version of Joaquin Sorolla’s facet as a cartoonist shines through in the magnificent watercolor that will be tendered on December 1.
The technical virtuosity that Joaquin Sorolla achieved with his pictorial work established him as the painter of light par excellence . However, the scope of his work goes far beyond his well-known canvases in which he captured like few others the lighting effects of the Mediterranean. In this sense, the Valencian artist’s facet as a cartoonist represents a valuable testimony of the evolution that his work underwent, revealing in it the key aspects that marked his artistic personality. Far from considering it a secondary manifestation, Sorolla builds his production as a painter and draftsman in parallel, evolving at the same time both in terms of technical and thematic aspects. With some exceptions, his drawings are not usually preparatory, but, as in the case at hand, they are in themselves true works of art.
Within its evolution, the scholarship that after winning the contest convened by the Valencia Provincial Council is granted in 1884 to complete its studies in Rome. In the Italian capital, a young Sorolla will discover not only the work of the great Italian Renaissance masters, but it will also be where his admiration for the work of Mariano Fortuny will surface, who will come to exert a powerful influence on the work of the Valencian artist.
In fact, his academic training and his time in Rome will be decisive in the development of his production as a cartoonist, marking the plastic ideal to which he should aspire. From his earliest drawings, the painter explored with different techniques that, such as charcoal, watercolor, ink or gouache, combined with each other. This is the case of “Playing the guitar”, carried out during his early Italian period and where, despite his youth, Sorolla already offers us clear samples of the technical mastery that he would achieve. The scene that he presents us with traditional roots denotes the excellent narrative sense and compositional skill that will define this type of production in which the mark left on him by teachers such as Ignacio Pinazo, Francisco Pradilla or the aforementioned Fortuny is evident. Likewise, Sorolla already offers us indications of what his artistic personality will become, delighting us in this scene, with the expressive force of his quick but concrete brushstroke and allowing us to glimpse the special sensitivity that he will acquire when capturing light effects.
Throughout his artistic career, Sorolla tirelessly made more than 5000 drawings in which between line and line we intuit how it happens in watercolor that concerns us here, the mastery of the painter in all its dimensions .