Sorolla and his family followed the fashion of holidaying at a resort, an upper class trend which was becoming well-established at the time in wealthy families. For Sorolla the summers were most often spent at the coast, and he became the chronicler of the ‘at the seaside’ phenomenon which became more widely popular a few years later, in the 1930s. In Sorolla’s time, seaside visitors bathed in the waves, with the sea breeze and seawater highly recommended for their therapeutic properties. Resorts on the north coast such as San Sebastian, Santander or Biarritz were considered the most suitable for seaside holidays, as the cooler weather meant that even at the seaside the fashion-conscious could still dress elegantly. This canvas, painted during the summer of 1910 on the beach at Zarauz, shows the whole Sorolla family, under an awning which is out of sight. The figures are elegantly dressed and the beach is depicted as a setting for bourgeois, cosmopolitan social appearances, rather than for spontaneous enjoyment.


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