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The Little Sailing Boat

Joaquín Sorolla1909

Sorolla Museum

Sorolla Museum

Painted in 1909 at El Cabañal beach in Valencia, this is one of Sorolla’s best known and most popular paintings.Children playing in the water or on the seashore are a frequent subject of Sorolla’s paintings,with the viewpoint raised until the horizon disappears and the water fills the whole canvas. In this painting by Sorolla, more than any other, depth disappears with the pictorial space identified with the surface of the canvas and the figure dissolves into its background, and both disintegrate, fragmented by the action of the light, reflected and refracted in the moving surface of the water. With this approach to representation as recreating sensations, Sorolla instinctively reflects some contemporary scientific questions on perception, but the result is a spectacularly intense and contagious sensuality, with this image of the boy completely absorbed in his play, the pleasure of his total immersion in the water and the sunlight.

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