Joaquín Sorolla, Female Nude, Oil on canvas, 106 x 186 cm. 1902. Private collection

As with so many other artists of his day, Sorolla’s visits to the Museo del Prado, where he was able to learn directly from the great Spanish masters, had great impact on his painting. Velázquez’s influence on his work, which critics recognized from the start, in the fi rst canvases he presented to public contests in Spain, became much more evident following his international success in Paris in 1900. From that moment on, Sorolla adopted Velázquez’s models as his own, alluding to some of his most famous pieces and even copying the resources used by the Sevillian artist.

Sorolla’s provocative Female Nude—in which the artist secretly celebrated the sensual quality of his wife’s body—evokes Velázquez’s Venus at her Mirror, while his family group portraits are modelled after Las Meninas. But references to the Sevillian master’s works are not always so direct. His admiration and appropriation of the Sevillian master’s portrait models resulted in dignifi ed likenesses such as those of the Beruetes, in which Sorolla achieves a characteristic sensation of immediacy, or that of The Photographer Christian Franzen where, again mimicking Velázquez, he provides the arresting image of a shared gaze, creating a disjunction between represented space and real space.

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