Fruitful friendship between Sorolla and Benlliure


Painter Joaquin Sorolla (1863-1923) and sculptor Mariano Benlliure (1862-1947), two of the most brilliant artists of their time, forged a lasting friendship that Sorolla Museum honors dedicated to the 75th anniversary of the death of the sculptor. Both, Valencians who made most of their careers in Madrid, were successful in their work outside the national sphere – the United States, France, Chile, Argentina or Cuba – and both won a gold medal at the World Exhibition in Paris in 1900.

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Bust of Clotilde from Benlliour | Sorolla Museum

Their friendship began in their teenage years in Valencia, spread to their families, and continued until Sorolla’s early death at the age of 60. The artist treated him like a “brother” and Benleure acted in this way. For example, he introduced Elena Sorollya, the artist’s youngest daughter, to sculpture.

Their professional careers ran in parallel, counting – each in their own field – the favor of the public and critics. There was no competition, but mutual admiration. The result of these years has resulted in a series artistic exchanges this impact One friendship, two artists highlights in Madrid.

The exhibition curated by Ana Muñoz Martin and Covadonga Pitarch Angulo brings together until October 2, 2022. eight sculptures of various kinds: plaques, studies, round figures or busts of Sorolla and his relatives, made of bronze, limestone or plaster. Some of them are like Sketch of the monument to Velázquez, exposed to the public for the first time.

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Memorial plaque to Sorolla of Benlliure | Sorolla Museum

Also noteworthy is a bronze profile plate, which the sculptor made in honor of the successes achieved by the painter in 1909; a bust of Maria Sorolla, the artist’s daughter, created for her wedding, or a bronze portrait of Antonio Garcia Peris, photographer and Sorolla’s father-in-law, which the artist gave to his wife Clotilde. The exhibition concludes with a series of letters, photographs and cartoons kept in the museum’s archives.

With this exhibition, the Sorolla Museum and the Sorolla Museum Foundation join the Madrid City Council in celebrating 75th anniversary of the death of Mariano Benlliure. The sculptor, educated in Valencia and Rome, settled in Madrid at the end of the 19th century. He was already a well-known artist, a favorite of the Madrid public and highly regarded by public institutions. The capital boasts a display of many of his works, in which he updated the concept of a public monument. The Valencian sculptor is the author equestrian statue of Alfonso XII in El Retiro, which is Francisco de Goya next to the Prado Museum or Alvaro de Bazan in the city square.


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