Kissing the relic | Joaquín Sorolla | 1893

Kissing the relic | Joaquin Sorolla | 1893

Kissing the relic | Joaquin Sorolla | 1893

Spanish artist Joaquín Sorolla was one of the most prolific painters of his country with a catalog of over 2000 paintings. During his training, he went through several stages that defined his mature paintings. From a realistic phase, to an impressionist, he reached his “luministic” phase, by which he is most widely recognized.

Early in his career, Sorolla took part in painting competitions, which implicitly required his works to be dramatic, with historical or mythological motifs. The artist won several competitions, even painting canvases that weren’t much of his liking.

In 1883 he won a medal for his work Defense of the Parque de Artillería of Monteleón. This year is recognized as the beginning of his realistic phase. In this time, Sorolla was deeply concerned about the social unrest in which he was immersed, and sought to show it in his paintings. One of these canvases was Kissing the relic.

In the painting, we see the interior of the Church of San Pablo, in Valencia, where humble people gather around the figure of a priest to kiss the relic he is holding in his hands. In these women and children, we can see sadness, grief and suffering in their faces. In contrast, the priest’s face shows a grim and strict expression. On the left, we see an altar boy selling prayer cards. In this painting, Sorolla is in complete control of his brushstrokes. He illuminates the right area of the composition by placing the focus on the headscarf of the woman kissing the relic, keeping the left area in darkness. Sorolla paints the scene with great detail but, simultaneously, with a loose brushstroke. Not as perfect as the neoclassicals but not as loose as the impressionists.

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~ by Álvaro Mazzino on December 7, 2012.

2 Responses to “Kissing the relic | Joaquín Sorolla | 1893”

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