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joaquín sorolla.

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El Museo Sorolla, located off of the Paseo Castellana, is the old home of the painter Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida (1863-1923) and the current home of an enormous body of his paintings.

I had yet to see his work en vivo and was delighted to discover thick patches of bright whites, pinks and blues and thin patches of darker, somber colors. He is aptly named the painter of light, el pintor de la luz, and his paints felt to be bouncing off of the surface of my face, my retinas. The middle figure of the sleeping girl in this second image, Trata de blancas (1894) is a confusingly beautiful combination of blue and pink.

The two story museum/house is fairly studded with paintings hung and crammed, for the most part, salon style and thus with very little room to breathe. This is perhaps how they were intended to live, side by side like so many breathless and bright-eyed children. Exhibited are both large and petite scale works and I found myself dancing back and forth. Right inside the entrance are the quaint and beautiful gardens that Sorolla painted many times. I highly recommend multiple visits.

I am listening to Tchaikovsky and have spent the weekend watching Russian theater with Spanish subtitles in the company of a sweet Spanish grandfather. My American nationaly prepared me well with it's mush-pot of ethnicities. Little by little I find myself drawing again, pulling out of my cautious shell much like the Spanish chestnuts, castañas, that litter the streets of Madrid and my desk.

A little taste: La abuela makes her rounds with a blue towel, toallas de rayas under both sandaled feet, gray hair pulled back, small breasts sagging beneath a faded nightie, her face tired of cigarettes and her breath catching in her windpipe. Her husband sits in his sweater, showered and reading with his dictionaries spread out on the white table. The scene repeats, doubling over, as it has for over thirty years and mirrors the house from which they both fled. Fumes from her cigarette. The five-year old is unable to feed herself and you find you are clutching her little cuerpo, pleading in your indecipherable tongue and praying that you eyes give you away.
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