Joaquin Sorolla y Bastida
(February 27, 1863 – August 10, 1923) was a Spanish painter,
born in Valencia, who excelled in the painting of portraits,
landscapes, and monumental works of social and historical themes.
His most typical works are characterized by a dexterous
representation of the people and landscape under the sunlight
of his native land. Joaquin Sorolla was the eldest child born
to a tradesman, also named Joaquin, and his wife, Concepcion
Bastida. His sister, Concha, was born a year later. In August 1865
both children were orphaned when their parents died, possibly from
cholera. They were thereafter cared for by their maternal aunt and
uncle. He received his initial art education, at the age of
fourteen, in his native town, and then under a succession of
teachers including Cayetano Capuz, Salustiano Asenjo. At the age of
eighteen he traveled to Madrid, vigorously studying master
paintings in the Museo del Prado.
After completing his military service,
at twenty-two Sorolla obtained a grant which enabled a four year term
to study painting in Rome, Italy, where he was welcomed by and found
stability in the example of F. Pradilla, the director of the Spanish
Academy in Rome. A long sojourn to Paris in 1885 provided his first
exposure to modern painting; of special influence were exhibitions
of Jules Bastien-Lepage and Adolf von Menzel. Back in Rome he studied
with Jose Benlliure, Emilio Sala, and Jose Villegas.