Having been drawn to the paintings of Sorolla since the first time I laid eyes on them I felt I couldn't leave Madrid without visiting his House Museum, which we both got fascinated by because it provides the visitor with a thorough insight into the artist's work but also his more intimate life once one is almost constantly immersed into the furniture and other collections of Art that decorated the house during his lifetime.
The House gardens seem to reflect one of his long time desires - to have a garden with Andalusian and Italian features and an exuberant vegetation that he is said to have planted himself.
As we walked into the house we came across an Andalusian courtyard which Sorolla is said to have decorated with part of his pottery collection.
The first room we visited on the first floor serves as an introduction to the painter's work, showing a retrospective selection of paintings from the main stages of his career.
The horse bath - oil on canvas - 1909 (left). After the bath - oil on canvas 1892 (right).
Characters from Lagartera or the Bride from Lagartera - oil on canvas - 2012.
Self portrait - oil on canvas - 1909
Clotilde, his wife and eternal muse is to be seen in several portraits hanging on the walls of the various rooms, from Sorolla's study room through to the artist's studio - showing the great love the artist had for his family, as many of the portraits also depict the couple's two daughters and son.
Clotilde with a dog and cat - oil on canvas - 1910 (left). Clotilde in a black mantilla - oil on canvas - 1919-20
Maria dressed in white - oil on canvas - 1903-04 (right).
Sitting on the sand, Zarauz beach - oil on canvas - 1910 (left). Clotilde in the garden - oil on canvas - 1919-20
Clotilde - oil on canvas - 1890 (right).
Many of his paintings seem to also explore the visual effects of light on the water and shadows on the sand, focusing on the scenes deprived of any horizon and thus creating a certain degree of intimacy with the depicted characters.
The little sailing boat - oil on canvas - 1909
Seaside stroll - oil on canvas - 1909 depicting the painter's wife and daughter Maria
After bathing - oil on canvas - 2015
The sitting room is dominated by family portraits and there is a clear change of decorative style which continues as we walk towards the ante-room which has marble floors and a distinct number of valuable artistic pieces.
The dining room had a rather vibrant decoration with a spectacular frieze painted by Sorolla above the marble skirting depicting garlands which are said to have become popular in the Italian Renaissance and in which his wife and two daughters were depicted once more.
On the way to the first floor, where temporary exhibitions are normally held, there were two portraits on either side before we walked into a room which now exhibits quite a few Spanish landscape paintings by Sorolla.
We both loved Sorolla's House Museum and the overall atmosphere so much that we felt we should have taken longer to visit it, had we had more time to do so.