Sargent in Spain

Monday, March 6th 2023

John Singer Sargent visited Spain on several occasions throughout his career, beginning in the 1870s. He was particularly drawn to the country's vibrant culture, picturesque landscapes, and rich history.

One of Sargent's most famous works related to Spain is the painting "El Jaleo," which he completed in 1882. The painting depicts a flamenco dancer performing in a darkened room, surrounded by a group of musicians and spectators. The work is notable for its lively brushwork and vibrant colors, which capture the energy and drama of the performance.

Sargent also painted a number of portraits of Spanish aristocrats and cultural figures. In 1903, he painted a portrait of King Alfonso XIII of Spain, which is now held in the Royal Palace of Madrid. He also painted portraits of the Marquess of Casa Torres and the Marquesa de Casa Torres, both of whom were prominent members of Spanish high society.

In addition to his portraits and genre scenes, Sargent also painted a number of landscapes and street scenes in Spain. He was particularly drawn to the country's historic cities, such as Granada and Seville, which he depicted in several of his works.

Sargent's visits to Spain were spread out over several decades, with his earliest known visit taking place in the 1870s and his last visit occurring in the early 1900s. His paintings of Spain reflect his deep admiration for the country's culture and traditions, as well as his skill as a painter and his ability to capture the essence of his subjects.

Sargent's Watercolors in Spain

During his visits to Spain, John Singer Sargent also painted a number of watercolors, which are considered some of his most notable works. He was particularly drawn to the country's landscapes, architecture, and street scenes, which he captured with his characteristic skill and fluid brushwork.

One of Sargent's most famous watercolors related to Spain is "Alhambra, Patio de la Acequia," which he painted in 1908. The painting depicts the famous Moorish palace in Granada, with its intricate arches, ornate tiles, and lush gardens. The work is notable for its delicate handling of light and shadow, which creates a sense of depth and atmosphere.

Another notable watercolor by Sargent is "Cuenca, Arched Bridge," painted in 1903. The painting depicts a stone bridge in the historic city of Cuenca, with its reflection shimmering in the river below. The work is notable for its vibrant colors and loose, gestural brushwork, which capture the dynamic quality of the water and the surrounding landscape.

Other notable watercolors by Sargent related to Spain include "The Church of Santa Maria, Burgos," painted in 1906, and "Giralda, Seville," painted in 1903. These works, like many of Sargent's watercolors, are held in private collections and museums around the world, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston.