Monday, April 29, 2013

CHILDREN ON THE BEACH. (Joaquín Sorolla)

Children on the Beach is a painting made by Joaquín Sorolla. Sorolla was born in Valencia on the 27th February 1863. Sorolla is a Spanish painter 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 peoples and landscape under the sunlight of his native land. He started his artistic learning in 1877 with the sculptor Cayetano Capuz in the “Escuela Superior de Bellas Artes” in San Carlos. He was interested in the open-air painting since he was young. He tried to capture the Mediterranean brightness, both in the Valencian garden and on the beach, as the French impressionists did. He completed his education in Paris and Rome, and when he came back to Spain, in 1890, he settled down in Madrid, where he started a successful career. Among his favorite themes, Sorolla stands out for his dedication to the landscapes of the Eastern coast of Spain, always with human presence and a remarkable presence of the light. Sorolla died in Cercedilla (Madrid) in 1923.

Children on the Beach was made in 1910. Sorolla signed a contract to paint a series of paintings about life in Spain for the Hispanic Society of America and he made fourteen murals which would decorate the institution rooms. They are known as Visions of Spain. With this painting, made between 1913 and 1919, whose dimensions are 3m x 70m, he raised an indelible monument of Spain, although scenes of diverse Spanish and Portuguese provinces were represented. He spent almost the whole 1912 travelling around the country, doing sketches and works of landscapes and customs. The oil paintings painted in 1916 dedicated to children and women in the Valencian beaches stand out in this series. The free brush stroke and the light of his native land predominate in them.

Some examples are:

Mother and daughter (Madre e hija)

Valencian Fisherwoman (Pescadora valenciana)

The dimensions of the painting Children on the Beach are 118 x 185 cm and the technique Sorolla used is a loose brush-stroke and the use of light. It is an oil painting on canvas.

Sorolla donated it to the extinct National Museum of Modern Art on the 28th February 1919.This painting belongs to a series on works of the same topic painted by Sorolla on the Valencian coast over a period of twenty years. This painting is in El Prado Museum now.

It was exposed on the 1911 exhibition in the USA, with other paintings, such as Idyll on the sea, very similar. These works contributed to Sorolla’s success in the West side of the Atlantic. Sorolla kept this painting until he donated it to the National Museum of Modern Art in 1919.

The happy images of the children enjoying on the Mediterranean beach and the heat of the Sun were loved everywhere. In addition, they allowed Sorolla´s extraordinary talent to be known among the American painters of this period. With loose brush-strokes full of bright colours, freedom and energy and an incomparable spontaneity, Sorolla seems to move the Sun effects shaking against the wet skin of the children. Representing the life on the sunny beaches that he loved, Sorolla captured the fleeting impressions caused by the Sun. Nevertheless, he admitted with sadness that he couldn’t paint the qualities of the Sun exactly as they are, only in an approximate form.

Idyll on the sea (Idilio en el mar)

The painting represents a crystalline beach with three boys there. The children are completely naked because they swam this way in the past. They are lying face down on the mud while the water touches their skin. They are in different positions:

One of them, blond and with pale skin, looks younger than the other ones and he is leaning on his elbow looking to the other boys, dark-haired and dark-skinned, whose bodies are lying in another position. The boy who is in the middle, is looking to the first one with a big smile while the other one is indifferent to the scene.

The blond boy is less sunken on the sand than the other two, and his body is outlined with more detail. His soles, the fingers of his feet, the muscles of his legs, his gluteus and back have more definition than the other children, who are half-buried on the wet sand. Their bodies are dimmer.

Children on the Beach is a good proof of the Sorolla’s skill to capture, with quick brush-strokes, the subtle colors of the swell. Also, with his amazing skill, he fixed the shadows under the children, just like the naked bodies reflected on the water and, with blue touches, the sparkles of the sky on the sand around. White brush-strokes –although for Sorolla total white didn’t exist, neither on the nature nor in the painting- capture the effect of sunlight rays with the wet skin.

Sorolla always looked for transmitting the effects of sunlight in his paintings and he managed to do it with the amazing ease we can admire in Children on the Beach. He was considered to be impressionist or post-impressionist. However, he refused to be called this way. Although he painted the moment, and he seemed to be close to the impressionism in his notes, he kept a realism that made up a very personal style.

Sorolla has a lot of paintings related with the beach. Here you have some of them:

Children on the Seashore.

The Horse’s Bath. (I really love this painting)

The Two Sisters.

Girl Going into the Sea.

The Sloop.

Sewing the Sail.

Walk on the Beach.

The Fisherman

Girls on the Sea

All these paintings are from the same website:

As you can see, Sorolla reflected the beaches of his native land in his paintings. In many of them children appear, representing the happiness of the summer with bright colours. The sea had a big importance for Sorolla. In his paintings fishers, swimmers and boats appear. The sea reflects penetrate in them with a great luminosity.

The sunrays produced for him an iridescence that he expected and managed to fix on the canvas, as Monet in the consecutive versions of the Rouen Cathedral.

Sorolla said: "It would be impossible for me to paint in the open-air slowly. There is nothing unmoving around us. But even if everything was petrified and fixed, the movement of the Sun, what it constantly does, would be enough to give a different aspect to things". (“ Me sería imposible pintar despacio al aire libre. No hay nada inmóvil en lo que nos rodea. Pero aunque todo estuviera petrificado y fijo, bastaría que se moviera el sol, lo que hace de continuo, para dar diverso aspecto a las cosas”).

Similar Sorolla’s paintings to the painting I’ve chosen:

Children on the Sea. (Valencia)

On the Sand.

The Wounded Foot.

On the Beach.

The images are from the same website:


On the 8th November 2012, eleven paintings of private collections and other three coming from El Prado Museum, Lladró Museum and IVAM respectively, were incorporated to the second extension of Joaquín Sorolla´s Room of the San Pío V Museum of Valencia. Seven of them were unknown, they had never been exposed nor photographed.

Among the incorporated paintings is one of the twenty self-portraits he painted during his life, in 1915 dedicated to his son- in- law, Francisco Pons Arnau.

The unprecedented portrait of María Sorolla, his daughter, titled María with red top (María con blusa roja)

Cabañal courtyard (Patio del Cabañal).

The child Jaime García Banús (El niño Jaime García Banús). (Children portraits that reflect the freshness and affection that Sorolla applied to these paintings).

Sorolla adopted the models of Velázquez as his own, playing with the references of some famous paintings and using the sources of the Sevillian painter in a direct form.

The provocative Nude Woman (Desnudo de mujer)- in which Sorolla honored in secret privacy the naked body of his wife-, recalls Velázquez’s Venus in her Mirror, while for the familiar portraits he was inspired directly in The Meninas.

Sorolla also painted a painting related with our region.

Guys of La Mancha (Tipos de la Mancha). Maybe the background is our town !!!


I’ve chosen Children on the Beach because I loved it the first time I saw it. I think it is a very beautiful painting that reflects the beach and the summer. It is simple in the sense that there aren’t a lot of people in it, because I don’t like that type of paintings. This painting makes me feel the innocence of the children who enjoy on the beach without worries and it transmits me calm too.

Raquel Ortiz Escribano 4ºA

Monday, April 29th 2013

Today the  lesson have started 7 or 8 minutes late because 2ª of Bachillerato has had an exam with Paqui and they has taken part of the breaktime and 5 minutes of our lesson. Well, and now I can begin to tell you what we've done today.
We started remembering the causes of the World War I. While we were watching the causes, Paqui asked us if we remember: "What it was the arms race?" And Raquel has answered with this: “ Big investments in weapons, soldiers and war plans to be ready for war”.

While Paqui was explaining this Enrique Pérez  has asked Paqui why it was called armed peace if everyone had guns. And she answered him that this it cames from Latin words.” SIVIS PACEM PARA BELLUM” and it means: “ If want peace get ready for war.
Then we have seen THE GROWING TENSION BEFORE 1914
Pre-war crises (moments of tension before the war).
-Two crises in Morroco in 1905 and 1911: tension between France and Germany.
-Two crises in the Balkans in 1908 and 1912-13: tension between Austria-Hungary and Russia.
·        Annexion of Bosnia-Herzegovina by Austria.
·        Balkan Wars.

-28th June 1914: Garrilo Prinzip, a serbian nationalist who wanted the union of all the slaves of the South, killed the heirs of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in Sarajevo (Bosnia).
-Austrian ultimatum to Serbia (48 hours to carry it out).
-28th July: Austria attacked Serbia. The alliances committed the main European countries in a 4 year-war.
After Paqui has drawn on the blackboard a map explaining the attacks occurred. They were:
  • 28th July: Austria-Hungary declared war to Serbia.
  • 30th July: Russia mobilized its troops against Austria-Hungary.
  • 1st August: Germany declared war to Russia and to France on the 3rd . On the 4th of August Germany invaded Belgium (Schilieffen Plan) to occupy France: The United Kingdom declared war to Germany when Belgium was invaded. Only Italy kept out of war.

Then she has explained us: “ Why world war I?”
Although war developed mainly in Europe, the main colonial powers were involved and their colonies with them.

Green: Triple Entente.
Orange: Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary and allies)

Finally we have started point B DEVELOPMENT OF THE WORLD WAR I.
Their main features were:
-New and deadlier armament: machine guns, poison gas, submarines,etc. Soldiers suffered a lot and there were millions of dead and disabled.
-Civil population became more target. Cities were bombed and citizens suffered a lot at rearguard.
- Constant use of propaganda to demonize the enemy.
-Governments of national unity.
And the bell rang and we have hadn`t time to finish watching the features, so the next day we continued watchin them.
The new words we have lerned today are:
 compulsory militar service - servicio militar obligatorio
 on the brick of - a punto de
 resentment – resentimiento
 gunboat – acorazado
 defy – desafiar
 Trigger for – detonante de
 Trigger – gatillo
 the Central Power – los Imperios Centrales
 bandage – benda
 airship – dirigible
 target - blanco

See you, bye :)

The Gleaners, by Jean-François Millet

The painting I have chosen is The Gleaners (Des Glaneuses in French) by Jean-François Millet. The painting was painted in 1857 and it’s a real representation of gleaner women. This painting was painted on oil on canvas and its dimensions are 83.5cmx110cm. This painting was presented at the Salon of Paris but when the critiques started, Millet sold his work for 3,000 francs to an Englishman called Binder. After Millet’s death his work started being appreciated and the banker Ferdinand Bischoffsheim purchased the painting at an auction for 300,000 francs. Then the painting was donated to the Louvre, but this painting is exhibited in the Orsay Museum in Paris now. The Gleaners was considered to be one of the most important paintings of Realism. Millet wanted to represent the realism of the 19th century, but his painting had a bad reception among the French upper class.

The gleaners in the Orsay Museum

Jean-François Millet had to move to Normandy, because he wanted to reflect the rural life of this place. The Gleaners represents the rural life, a field where three women are collecting corn grains. They are exactly collecting the fallen grains that men left on the ground after the harvest. This activity was commanded only to determinate women in the town. The central figures of the painting are three women dressed with the typical peasants’ clothes, but also with the coloured and typical clothes of Normandy. These clothes have colours such us pink and green to make the painting more colourful and less self-sacrificing.

On this painting the gleaners represent the hard work of the women in this period of history and also some samples of pain, such the hand over the back of one woman and the representation of fatigue at the end of a labour day. A gleaner was normally a woman who had to collect the grains of corn that men didn’t collect before. This work was very hard because they had to work from sunrise to sunset, bending over, picking up the grains and straightening many times. We can’t see the face of the three women. Behind the central figures, in the background there are the hayricks, sheaves of wheat and some carts. Also behind the carts there are some peasants (men) in a laborious work. 

Millet represented the daily peasant life with a colourful point of view. This painting is a critical topic, because it reports the bad working conditions of women and also their poverty. Millet gave the three women a heroic role for their hard work and also, because their work wasn’t grateful. Millet used oil painting technique, because he wanted to represent the movement of the three women collecting the wheat harvest. He also used geometrical forms, such as the circle. On this painting the predominant colours are the warm colours to stand out the gleaners. The light of this painting is very natural and it gives the painting a good and clear point of view, because it represents a sunny day. Millet painted the gleaners with very slow brush-strokes because he wanted to reflect the three women as heroines. Millet painted a previous version of this theme. He painted the gleaners in some drawings, but this is considered the first one on oil painting.

This drawing may have immediately preceded the painting, but it was more likely drawn from it, as Millet frequently repeated and recorded his favourite motifs.

Jean-François Millet is considered to be one the most important realist painters because he represents the more bucolic aspect of peasants’ life. Millet represented the real theme of the lower class and the bad working conditions of these people. This caused a lot of criticism. Millet could make a real social report with this piece.

Millet not only represented the lower class on this painting, but also in The nap 

Millet also represented the lower class in The Angelus

Millet influenced Van Gogh, who admired him. There is another Millet’s painting Van Gogh used as model for several paintings: The Sower.

Millet’s painting The Sower

Millet’s The Sower

Van Gogh’s painting The Sower

One interesting thing about The Gleaners is that I have found a film. The film is called Les glaneurs et la glaneuse (The gleaners and I) and it was directed by Agnès Varda. The film is about how the food some people throw one day to the rubbish can feed other people for a whole week. This film shows the bad working and living conditions of people at a specific place and time.

I like this painting because it’s very colourful and transmits a sensation of calm and quietness. I also like the painting because it shows the real lower class and this serves to make the people aware of a situation. It’s also a sensitive painting because you can see the pain and fatigue of the three women. The Gleaners is a very interesting painting. I have learned a lot with this work.


I hope you like it :)

The third of May 1812

The painting I have chosen is The third of May 1808 by Francisco de Goya. It is also known as The shooting of the mountain of Príncipe Pío. It was painted in 1814 and commissioned by the Regency, when Ferdinand VII hadn’t still come back from France. The technique that Goya used is oil on canvas and the dimensions of the painting are 266 × 345 cm. This painting is the culmination of another painting: The Charge of the Mamelukes. This painting has always been in El Prado Museum in Madrid except for the period when the republicans made an evacuation of all the paintings of El Prado Museum during the Civil War. The painting is the room 64 of the Prado Museum.

This painting shows the consequences that the 2nd of May 1808 had, when the people attacked the French troops that occupied the city of Madrid. At first sight we can see many people who have been killed, other people who are going to be killed and other people who are the soldiers. We can see fear faces and also we can see provocative faces. In the background we can see a palace or a castle.

The composition of this painting is divided into two different parts: the first one to the left, that is composed by a group of citizens who have different postures and these postures determine the attitudes these people have towards death. And on the right side there are the soldiers who are shooting the citizens. Goya represented this painting with darker colours and with brown and ochre tones. We can also see some white colours, like the white shirt of the man who has the arms in a cross position and the lamp that is near the soldiers. This painting doesn’t have much light in order to show a sinister atmosphere. We can see that the light is artificial, provided by the lamp the soldiers have. This light doesn’t illuminate the soldiers and the Spanish citizens in the same way. On this painting Goya didn’t use straight lines, because he wanted to be expressive and used dissolute brush-strokes. The landscape in the foreground is indefinite. 

The truck in which this painting travelled during the evacuation had an accident and suffered some damage and was restored in Gerona by Tomás Pérez y Manuel Arpe y Retamino.

Francisco de Goya is considered to be the precursor of many styles, such as romanticism, realism or impressionism, but this painting is considered to be a historical painting because it represents a historical moment of the history of Spain. I have read some information which says that Goya accepted to paint this because of his situation as Francophile. Also if we watch this painting, we can say it belongs to Romanticism due to the colours and style.

Goya’s painting was the inspiration for some paintings: 

Édouard Manet copied the structure of Goya’s painting in his work Emperor Maximilian's shooting in 1867, but he used lighter colours. Picasso also made a painting inspired on Goya’s painting, called Massacre in Korea in 1951 but in a completely different style. He painted this because he wanted to criticized the power of the West in a wanted dehumanization.

I like this painting, because Goya reflected it without keeping any part empty. He represented the scene with all the details, as if he was a photographer. I also like this painting because it is very good, all the characters have a different and expressionist faces and painting this has a lot of difficulties. I like most of Goya’s paintings because all are different.

I like also the Playmobil and I have found this, which is very nice.


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Self-portraits, by Vincent Van Gogh

This is an oil painting on canvas, its dimensions are 41x32.5 cm and now the painting is located at the Van Gogh National Museum of Amsterdam.

His first self-portrait was made in 1886. Van Gogh was living in a small flat with his brother Theo in Paris. On this painting, Van Gogh is very serious due to his arguments with Theo, his brother, and the abuse of alcoholic drinks. It's very dark and Van Gogh is wearing a dark hat and black coat, because the painting reflects a dark stage of his life.

This is an oil painting on canvas, its dimensions are 41x33.5 cm. Now the painting is at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, in Hartford, Connecticut, USA.

This self-portrait was made in 1887. He was living in Paris at that time. He changed his style of painting because he was in a different stage of his life.

This painting shows a little bit of light with respect to with the first one. Van Gogh always painted himself as a serious person. That’s why you don't have to look to his face, you have to see the colours. On this painting you can appreciate that his right ear is out of proportion. In December 1888, he decided to cut his earlobe.

This is my second favorite self-portrait of Van Gogh, because of the lines with those brush-strokes, the way of looking is very intense and says a lot of Van Gogh’s personality. And it also shows a strange way of painting his ear.

This is one of his most famous paintings. This painting is an oil painting on canvas, its dimensions are 65´5 x 50´5 cm. Now it's in the Van Gogh National Museum in Amsterdam.

It was made in 1888. He had left Paris and moved to Arlés. Being in Paris was harder and harder for him, but going to Arlés made him calm down. However, he was not happy either. On this painting, he shows the easel, the brushes and the paint, because he wants to show that he is going to paint more paintings. The painting has a lot of brush-strokes, especially his head and this creates a sensation of volume, while the other paintings were flat.

We can see that his right ear is smaller than in the previous painting. And his face is very different, because is more circular, and also the way of painting changes.

This is an oil painting on canvas and its dimensions are 46x38 cm. Now the painting is at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York City.

This painting was painted in 1888, between November and December. Van Gogh was going through a very strange period of his life. He was living in Arlés at the moment. On one side, he was happy because he lived with Paul Gauguin, but on the other side, he was very limited, because Gauguin went to Arlés as a teacher and he saw Van Gogh as his apprentice and considered that Van Gogh had to follow his rules and his style. This attitude is reflected in the painting. The background is painted with a rare green which stands out the volume of his face.

I don't like this self-portrait because it has very rare colors, like the green in the background or the brush-strokes to reflect the shadows of his face and hair.

This painting is from 1888, it's an oil painting on canvas. Its dimensions are 62x52 cm. Now the painting is located at the Fogg Art Museum, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA

Van Gogh exchanged this painting for Gauguin’s self-portrait before living together in the yellow house of Arlés. They lived there between October and December 1888. The final night they spent there, Vincent injured himself, cutting his earlobe. Vincent painted himself as a prudent person with his short hair and his fixed beard, with an elegant suit. The painting has a lot of brush-strokes, especially around his head. Van Gogh marked the outlines with a dark color. The brush-strokes are very defined. The use of shadows shows that this painting is connected with Impressionism.

This painting is an oil painting on canvas, its dimensions are 60x49 cm. The painting is located in the Courtauld Gallery, in London.

This painting was painted in 1889. On this painting we can see that Van Gogh finally cut his earlobe on the 23 December of 1888 and he went to the hospital of Arlés. The first three days he was delirious and the first signs of his psychical disease appeared. Vincent is wearing a hat and a coat because of the cold weather. In the background there is a Japanese print, showing the wish of Van Gogh to show that painting. The face shows that he was very sad and he felt bad because he couldn't be with Gauguin and form the Community of Artists of the South he was thinking about. But this stage opened new possibilities when his madness didn't stop him to create a lot of wonderful paintings. It has the same style, with big brush-strokes in the coat and the face.

This is an oil painting on canvas. Its dimensions are 65x54 cm. Now it's in the Orsay Museum, in Paris.

This painting is one of the most wonderful self-portraits he painted. It was painted in Saint-Rémy in September 1889. His mental disease hadn’t affected his art. He only drank half a liter of alcoholic drinks per day and he had a good health, but worries were still there, as Van Gogh’s way of looking shows. He knew that the crisis of July 1889 had passed, but he was afraid of a relapse, because the disease didn’t let him painting. This self-portrait is painted with a lot of wavy and marked lines, it's formed only by cold colors, except for the face. He's posing looking to the left because he had severed his right earlobe. This painting is very similar to The Starry Night, because of the wavy lines.

Personally, this is one of my favorite Van Gogh’s paintings, because it reflects a lot of emotions in only one painting. It reflects that he couldn’t escape his disease, but it also shows that he wanted to go on painting. I like the colors, like the contrast between the blue and the orange of his hair, and the wavy lines of the background.

Apart from these paintings, Van Gogh made a lot of self-portraits. Here you have some of them:


Van Gogh used portrait painting as a method of introspection, a method to make money and a method of developing his skills as an artist.

When Van Gogh first began painting he used peasants as models. Van Gogh did not have money to pay models to pose for portraits nor did he have many people commissioning him portraits, so Van Gogh painted his own portrait. Van Gogh's self portraits depict his face as it appeared in the mirror he used to reproduce his face. Van Gogh painted over 30 self-portraits between the years 1886 and 1889.


Vincent Van Gogh was a great painter, because he made a lot of good paintings like The Starry Night or The Sunflowers, that are very expensive now, but seeing his self-portraits you can see what happened in his life. You can see that he didn’t have an easy life, he had a lot of problems and he was also a little oppressed by the other painters of that era. He also had mental problems that complicated more his wish of painting. Now Van Gogh is buried next to his brother Theo in the Auvers-sur-Oise Graveyard, but before dying he painted more than 900 paintings and 1600 drawings. Van Gogh is considered a Post-Impresionist painter because he wanted to show expressions in his paintings, he wasn't only worried about light and colour.