In 1908 Joaquin Sorolla, the Valencian painter, came to Andalucía for the first time. The light was something totally new to him; the palaces, and patio gardens of Seville and Granada’s Alhambra fortress and its sweeping views truly inspired him.
Patio de Comares, 1917 – Museo Sorolla
Running until mid October this year, in the Palace of Charles V in the Alhambra complex is a small exhibition of Sorolla’s Andalusian inspired works.
Focusing on Sierra Nevada landscapes and magical glimpses of his favourite gardens in Seville and Granada, the collection is a beautiful and poetic celebration of the Al Andalus garden heritage in Southern Spain. Dating back to Arab times, water is always an essential element in these gardens and so in turn in his paintings. Reflections in water are a common theme throughout the works and used as a metaphor for a mirror of the soul.
Sorrolla saw Andalusian gardens as being full of emotional resonance; a fruit of creativity equal to painting. He truly fell under the spell of these magical spaces.
Sorolla so loved these ‘Gardens of Light’ that he created his very own Andalusian garden at his Madrid home, with fountains, tiles, columns and ornamental plants brought from Andalucía.
More information online on the Alhambra website.
Joaquin Sorolla (1863 – 1923) was one of Spain’s most illustrious artists from the late 19th century and early 20th Century.
The exhibition is free and easily accessed.
Take the little 31 bus from Plaza Nueva, in Granada’s city centre up to the Alhambra complex. Alternatively drive there, taking the exit directly from the motorway – parking is easy off season.
Ignore the tourist queues for the Alhambra, Generalife Gardens and the Palaces; and instead walk down the public road that hugs the fortress walls, towards the Parador Hotel. Here, enter the public area of the Alhambra and enjoy views of the ancient Albaicin opposite – the huge Palace of Charles V is in front of you.
The exhibition is on the first floor of the palace, beside the Fine Arts Museum.
Afterwards enjoy a chilled glass of white wine on the terrace of the recently renovated Parador Hotel, looking out across to the alluring Court of the Myrtles (my favourite part of the Alhambra), surrounded by myrtle bushes, pomegranates, cypress, and pine and cedar trees.