OAQUIN SOROLLA Y BASTIDA painted this touching work of a monk helping crippled children bathe in the sea in Valencia. It won the Grand Prix and Medal of Honor at the Exhibition in Paris in 1900 and was the turning point in his professional career.
I admire how Sorolla selected a color scheme that corresponds to the narrative. The black waves in the distance seem to symbolize the difficult life these poor children have ahead of them. Their delicate skin is set off by an eerie light. Unlike the black horizon, the black habit of the monk is a comforting presence that provides a protective stability.