Portrait of Benito Pérez Galdós


This portrait of the writer Benito Pérez Galdós was produced by the Valencian painter Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida in 1894. Born in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria on January 10, 1843, Galdós became a major Spanish literary figure, the author of more than 80 titles that included novels, historical novels, and plays. His work encompasses many different features and trends, including a realism that recalls certain novels of the Spanish Golden Age as well as the influence of 19th-century Russian and French writers. Other major themes in Galdós’s fiction are the concern for the religious and mystical currents present throughout Spanish literature, and interest in Regeneracionismo (regenerationism, a political and intellectual movement in Spain that sought to understand the reasons for the country’s decline as a great power). Together, these elements led to the creation of works that spoke to the political, social, and everyday concerns of readers in late-19th and early-20th century Spain. In his painting, Sorrolla captures the calm, detached attitude of the great realist writer. The original of the painting is in the Pérez Galdós House Museum, in Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, and is one of the most important and well-known pieces in the museum.

Last updated: June 13, 2016