The Museo Sorolla of Madrid !!!

I believe my dear late mother Gladys took me here many years ago…. but in my rounds with my young men sons decided to give them an instroduction to Spanish culture and visits to museums is the best way of it. Especially so Spanish as the  Sorolla Museum of Madrid.  I am updating this older post with new info and links, shorter version ; hope you enjoy it as I,

The Sorolla Museum is a Spanish state museum located in a palace of the Paseo del General Martínez Campos, no. 37 a site that would serve as a workshop and housing for Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida with his wife and three children. The building was built in 1911, built with the wishes of the painter to create a space that merged the work area and his home and also had a garden space. The house retains the original atmosphere of many of the spaces, in addition to housing a wide collection of Sorolla’s works, as well as numerous objects that he collected as a collector during his life. It is also one of the best preserved artist houses in Europe! Indeed, it is !!


A bit of history I like

The creation of a museum in the building that served as a family home, was the idea and express desire of Clotilde García del Castillo, Sorolla’s wife, as recorded in her 1925 will, where she gave the house and her collection of works to the Spanish State in order to perpetuate the memory of her husband.  On May 29, 1931, the Board of Trustees would be created of the newly instituted Foundation . This was initially composed by the children of Sorolla; María, Joaquín and Elena; representatives of various state institutions; the Head of State, who held the presidency; the Minister of Public Instruction and Fine Arts; as well as the president of the Hispanic Society of America, for which the painter had made one of the most ambitious projects of all his artistic production.


On July 26, 1945, the first floor rooms would be opened to the public for the first time after a previous rehabilitation. These corresponded with the personal rooms of the marriage and the children to give it a purely intimate and familiar flavor, hence the family’s portraits, painter’s belongings or medals won in Its many exhibitions.   Joaquin Sorolla García died on March 2, 1948 and as expressed in his will, his properties went to the Museum Foundation and three years later, on July 16, 1951, his legacy is accepted and added to that of his mother, adding 156 more works to the Foundation’s funds. The direction was assumed by Francisco Pons-Sorolla, grandson of the painter and son of María Sorolla García and Francisco Pons Arnau. Under his administration a room dedicated to the drawings, gouache and watercolors of the Valencian artist (Sorolla) would be created and the first catalog of the Museum, Life and Work of Joaquín Sorolla, by Bernardino de Pantorba would be published.

A bit on the house I like

On November 17, 1905 Sorolla acquired  the first land of the house,  that corresponds to the living and study area, as well as the back garden. Four years later, in 1909, he would buy the surrounding land, giving him additional space to expand his studio and build the rest of the garden. Thus, the construction of the house would begin as early as 1910 and would extend until 1919, although it is known that the family would begin to inhabit it already in 1911.  The house is built around two floors, to which is added the already named garden level. The main floor or noble floor, has two accesses, the main and the other side. This floor also houses the painter’s three studios and the living-dining room, all illuminated through large windows that fill the rooms with abundant light, just as he wanted. Through this level the basement was accessed, where the kitchen and other units were located among which was the home of the guardians. For its part, the first floor corresponded to the most intimate area, where the bedrooms of both the family and the staff of the house were located. Finally, the garden, which is divided into three different spaces, was the painter’s work in its design and layout.


To enable the house to serve as a museum, much of its internal structuring was renovated, except for part of the ground floor. Thus, the rooms currently corresponding to (map layout in the museum)  I, II and III, at the time formed the three studies of the painter. Room I was used as a warehouse, II for the exhibition of works by the artist and room III was the studio itself.  This room communicated with the family area, which corresponds to a room that   communicates  with the main entrance of the house, today leaving the museum; a room that precedes the lunch room and a staircase that leads to the first floor, where temporary exhibitions are currently held rooms from IV to VI. From this, through another staircase, you access the second floor, service area at first, then Joaquín Sorolla García’s room since 1941, after which in 1982 it would be used as the museum offices and currently, as a place where the workshops organized by the institution are developed. For their part, the gardens have remained true to how they were at the time in which the family lived in the house thanks to the restorations carried out between 1986 and 1991. The Andalusian style would be especially present in this space. The Alhambra of Granada ,and the Alcazar of Sevilla were the monuments that would most inspire the painter in his eagerness to design the exterior space of his home. For this , Sorolla was made with different elements such as fountains, tiles, columns, statues, plants and trees, all from Andalusia.


The collections! Fantastic !!! love it!!! A must to see Spanish art!

The museum’s collections are composed of works by Sorolla himself, personal belongings, as well as many others that he collected during his life as a collector. Similarly, among the collection are works by his closest relatives, such as his daughters Maria and Helena Sorolla, and his son-in-law, Francisco Pons Arnau. Most of this comes from the legacy and donations made by the painter’s own relatives, such as his wife and three children.


The painting collection is the most representative of the museum with 1294 works by Sorolla, which cover different themes and formats, such as his famous color notes, preparatory paintings he made as a study prior to the realization of a larger format work. It also has 164 works by other painters such as Aureliano de Beruete, Anders Zorn or Martín Rico Ortega.


The drawings collection of 4985 drawings made by Sorolla includes designs for the facade of the building, its gardens or interiors of the house, as well as charcoals from the painter’s daily life. They are usually quick notes of the natural that he takes for entertainment or as ideas prior to his paintings.


The sculpture collection is composed of 289 works from different eras and mainly of Spanish origin that enriched the family’s home. Its origin is unknown, although there is evidence that some were gifts made to Sorolla himself. Pieces of Rodin, Troubetzkoy as well as friends of the artist such as Mariano Benlliure, Josep Clarà, Miguel Blay, José Capuz or his daughter, Elena Sorolla stand out.


The ceramic collection is a clear testimony of the painter’s taste for this type of element. This inclination could be due to the artist’s Levantine origins, as well as the constant trips he made to southern Spain to carry out his commission for the Hispanic Society, which led him to use ceramic tiles, plates and vases in the decoration of his own housing In addition, this collection offers a broad view of peninsular ceramics from the 15C to the 20C, with works by peers such as Daniel Zuloaga or Mariano Benlliure.

The jewels collection consists of 269 pieces, among which are popular jewels from different regions of Spain, with the Valencian jewelery being the one with the greatest presence. Likewise, it also includes pieces of Berber origin as a result of family trips,

The textile collection is mainly made up of those pieces acquired by Sorolla in his travels for the commission of the Hispanic Society and which mostly correspond to traditional clothing from different regions of the 19C and 20C. It also includes the family’s household furniture and other fragments of ancient fabrics acquired by the painter during his life

The furniture collection consists of 184 pieces that served the family in their home and that are mostly preserved in situ. As the tastes of the time marked, this is characterized by its eclectic character, in this way you can find furniture of varied invoice dating from the twelfth century, as well as other elements of modernist cut such as lamps that light different rooms, designed by Louis Confort Tiffany, or the Arabic-style canopy bed that was in the painter’s studio.

In the Sorolla Museum’s collections there are valuable personal belongings to both the painter and the family. These respond to different natures, so that we can find from Sorolla’s own belongings, such as their brushes, palettes or medals obtained in different national and international exhibitions, as well as a collection of metalwork and other glass objects from different eras.

The photo collection is the most extensive in the Sorolla Museum, with 7167 photographs of original paper copies, original negatives or modern positives. This photographic collection is due, in large measure, to Antonio García Peris, Sorolla’s father-in-law, who portrayed family members multiple times. The painter himself would also use photography as an instrument of documentation for some of his projects, as commissioned by the Hispanic Society. Similarly, in this collection you can find works by other famous photographers of the time, such as Christian Frazen, Ragel, Laurent, Campúa or Kaulak among others.

The Ministry of Culture and Sports on the Sorolla museum :

The Madrid tourist office on the Sorolla museum

There you go folks, this is a very nice little museum loaded with wonderful things to see and admire, highly recommended when in Madrid.I know we will be back again! Sorolla museum is Madrid !!

And remember, happy travels, good health, and many cheers to all !!!

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