Studio Envy

May 28, 2010

Studio space can be a critical factor in the working life of an artist.  The kitchen table, the corner of a room, or the space of a drawing table often have to make do.  Garages and basements can offer an improvement in square footage but not necessarily in quality of space (I’m thinking of camel crickets, spiders, mold, and damp darkness).  A dedicated room with heat, natural light, and running water nearby may seem a luxury.  But there are other possibilities…

On a recent trip to Spain I visited the Museo Sorolla in Madrid.  This oasis is a few metro stops from the historic center and main tourist area of the city.  It is the former home and studio of the artist Joaquin Sorolla (1863-1923).  The house was designed with a studio and two gallery rooms attached.  Sorolla designed the surrounding gardens.  What a gem!  The house and studio hold not only many of Sorolla’s paintings but also his collections, from pottery to artifacts. With the exception of the rooms that now serve as gallery space, the house is much as it was when Sorolla died, and the visit offers an interesting glimpse into a creative life.  This is the studio:

This is a view from the garden of the studio/gallery entrance (now the museum entrance):

And this is a view of one of the four garden spaces:

If I lived in Madrid, this garden would be a frequent destination; a place to read, think, sketch, be.  And the studio; well, I’m not sure I would know what to do with so much space!

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