X. Visión de España
Despite Sorolla’s initial plans to represent all the regions of the Iberian
Peninsula in an orderly fashion on the walls of the Hispanic Society Library, the
subjects he portrayed and the painting trips he made to various Spanish provinces emerged gradually, according to the painter’s interest. He first painted the large panel Castile, the Bread Festival, between 1912 and 1913,
which, due to its monumental dimensions and grand aspirations, took longer to complete than any other in the series. From March to April 1914 he tackled the first panel on Seville, Holy Week Penitents. In the summer of 1914 he painted Aragon, The Jota; Navarre, The Town Council of Roncal and Guipúzcoa, The Game of Skittles. That autumn he worked on another panel, Andalusia, The Round-up, his last piece of the year. He started off 1915 with two more panels depicting Andalusian themes, Seville, the Dance and Seville, the Bullfi ghters, which kept him busy until April. That same summer he painted Galicia, the Pilgrimage, followed by Catalonia, the Fish, in September. Between January and March of 1916 he worked on Valencia, Couples on Horseback. He then rested for nearly a year, until the following October, when he began Extremadura, the Market. In November of 1918 he returned to Valencia, where
he painted Elche, the Palm Grove. After fi nishing that panel, in January of the following year, Sorolla went back to Andalusia to make the last painting in the series, Ayamonte, the Tuna Catch, which he completed in June of 1919.
The illness that fi rst surfaced when he was fi nishing the last panels, and which led to a stroke in 1920, prevented him from overseeing the mural’s installation in the room for which it had been painted. In 1922 the panels were sent to New York, but they were not hung in the Library of the Hispanic Society of America until 1926.