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This document is a tribute written by Peruvian painter Daniel Hernández as an homage to Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida, on the occasion of the latter’s death. In his opinion, Sorolla’s work and influence on the peninsula confirms him as a noteworthy painter who was removed from historical dramatism and rhetoric, and so according to Hernández, Sorolla would above all be remembered as “the painter of life and light.” In the author’s judgment, the modernity of his work rests in “the novelty of its concepts,” and the “precision of his bold colors,” whose truth does not resort to fruitless or scientific “subdivisions of colors.” For the author, the Valencian painter continues the “noble Spanish tradition” of opposing the “lamentable primitivists and expressionists,” etc.; “modernists” he accuses of trying to set the arts back by centuries and of suppressing the legacy of prior examples.
During the 1920s, modern Spanish painting continued to exercise significant influence on the arts scene in Peru. In this context, artists such as Ignacio Zuloaga and Joaquín Sorolla were models of “contemporary times” within a local arts scene that opposed the avant-garde; these visual paradigms enjoyed the admiration of academics and supporters of indigenous art. Daniel Hernández, then director of the ENBA (Escuela Nacional de Bellas Artes), was an academic, and a relatively successful artist in Europe: he won the gold medal at the International Exposition of Paris in 1900. Given his ties to prominent Spanish artists (who helped him become president of the Society of Spanish painters in Paris), it is likely that Hernández had contact with Sorolla. Upon his death, the director of the ENBA offered praise for the Spanish master’s bold forms, interpreting them as the continuation of a legacy of artistic perfection that was besieged by “isms.”