100th Anniversary of JOAQUIN SOROLLA coins struck by FNMT
- April 19, 2023
Joaquín Sorolla (1863-1923) is one of the great names in 20th-century Spanish painting. He is the creator of an optimistic vision of a luminous and Mediterranean Spain. Together with Velázquez and Goya, Sorolla is probably the most appreciated Spanish painter.
Sorolla’s art reflects the naturalistic trends of the late 19th and early 20th centuries and numerous specialists have defined him as “Impressionist” or “luminous”. Sorolla did not in fact identify himself with the Impressionists but he was very familiar with their works and absorbed their new use of colour, their manner of applying it in separate. He shared the Impressionists’ interest in light but maintained a more volumetric approach to the figure and a discipline of line that reveals their rigorous academic training.
His paintings hang on the walls of the world’s most prestigious museums. Most of the masterpieces are housed in Madrid, in the museum that bears his name, Museo Sorolla, which was his home. There are also paintings in the Prado Museum. But they are not only in Spain, in the D‘Orsay Museum in Paris, in the Metropolitan Museum in New York and even in the Museum of Fine Arts in Havana, Cuba.
He painted individual and group portraits in exteriors and interiors, landscapes, childhood, social stories, genre scenes, the luminous Mediterranean beaches and the less sunny beaches of northern Spain. He has received awards and recognition in Madrid, Rome, Paris and Venice, to name a few examples.
2023 marks the centenary of his death so the Fabrica Nacional de Moneda y Timbre will release a serie of three coins, one in gold and two in silver.
Self-portrait. 1909 – Oil on canvas
The painter is wearing a wide-brimmed hat and looking towards the viewer.
Portrait of Clotilde, his wife. Clotilde gave Sorolla the stability and security that his whole life was rooted in, but she was also his favourite muse and model. Her portrait shows us her peculiar beauty, and her demeanour and direct gaze show us her firmand determined character.
Metal: Gold 999/1000
Face Value: €200
Max.mintage: 1 500 coins
Stroll along the Seashore – 1909 Oil on canvas
This is one of the painter’s most representative pieces: a scene depicting an “elegant stroll”, as
was commonplace on the beaches of the north, transported to the beach in Valencia. The water
and beach sand come to life with long brush strokes, providing the backdrop for the figures of
his wife and daughter, Maria, who walk dressed in white—Sorolla’s famous white—as the breeze ruffles their dresses and headdresses. The photographic framing, which cuts off Clotilde’s widebrimmed hat and leaves a strip of empty sand, brings modernity to the work.
The Little Sailing Boat – 1909 – Oil on canvas
This is one of Sorolla’s best-known pictures, painted in a summer of great pictorial production, with marine themes, where the light, the sand on the beach, the sea water and the figures stand out, with an increasingly doughy and loose brushstroke. In these paintings Sorolla increasingly reduced the horizon until it disappeared, as in this painting, thus eliminating the sensation of depth and concentrating on the figure and the depth of the water.
Metal: Silver 925/1000
Diameter: 73 mm
Face Value: €50
Max. mintage: 3 000 coins
2023 marks the 100 Anniversary of the death of Joaquin Sorolla. To celebrate this event Royal Spanish Mint will issue one square 1 oz. silver coin. With its dazzling light, white hues and the
beaches of Valencia, it is undoubtedly one of the painter’s most significant canvasses and one of Sorolla’s most respected and popular works. Sorolla turns this simple daily scene into a
monumental painting: a young boy, most likely the son of a fisherman, walks out of the sea,
leading the horse that he had taken to the water to cool off.
The intense light, the shimmering skin of the horse and the boy, and the reflections of the water on the edge of the sand show the level of mastery and enjoyment that Sorolla had achieved in his painting by 1909, one of the highlights of his career. This canvas, painted in Valencia, shows a woman drying off a naked boy, who she wraps in a stunning white cloth.
The intense midday sun falls vertically on the cloth, filling the painting with light; one of the hallmarks of Sorolla’s style was precisely his ability to tackle the blinding light of the Mediterranean summer. This simple scene and subject matter allowed Sorolla to devote all his attention to the formal execution of the painting.
The Horse Bath – 1909 Oil on canvas
After Bathing – Oil on Canvas – 1915
Metal: Silver 999/1000
Size: 36 X 36 mm
Weight: 1 Oz
Face Value: €10
Max. mintage: 7.000 coins
Sources: FNMT (Spanish Mint) and NUMISMAG