The Summer Days exhibition takes its title from the work by Vicente Palmaroli in the Museum’s collection. Through a selection of Spanish and international painting, it surveys how, beginning in the mid-1800s, beaches and the sea gradually became a subject for painters.
Around this time it began to be customary for the bourgeoisie to take summer holidays by the sea, at beach and spa resorts, that combined health, recreation and social life. Several French regions such as Normandy pioneered this phenomenon, which spread across Europe and gave rise to the summer tourism that reached its height of development the following century.
Artists, in their keen pursuit of outdoor subjects, also shared these tastes. Strolls, children playing and family get-togethers on the sand, sunbathing and sea-bathing, the nude in a playful context far removed from the academic world, portraits with the newly discovered coastal scenery as a background, as well as the landscapes that were the setting for these activities became recurring subjects for painters of the second half of the nineteenth century. This interest extended to the twentieth century and to avant-garde art, in keeping with social changes and new customs.
Edward Hopper, El Martha Mckeen de Wellfleet, 1944
Colección Carmen Thyssen-Bornemisza en depósito en el Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Madrid
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