A simple competition on Facebook has changed a chapter in the history of art. It all started in June 2013, when the Sorolla Museum in Madrid posted a picture by the Valencia artist and asked "Where are we?"
Most people replied “Cap Martí, Javea”, the title of the painting, but when Antonio González-Alba saw it, his answer was totally unexpected. He said it was the Peñón del Cuervo, a rocky formation on the coastline just east of the city of Malaga.
“Anybody from Malaga who looked at that picture would have said the same,” said this lecturer in photography at Seville University.
However it was his response and research that prompted the museum and Sorolla’s family to take a fresh look at the painting. Now they have changed its name to ‘Playa del Peñón del Cuervo, Malaga’, increasing the number of landscapes the artist painted on the Costa del Sol to three.
At first though few people agreed with González-Alba’s response on Facebook, so he posted photos of his own, taken a couple of years earlier, to show the likeness. He then went to the Peñón del Cuervo and took more pictures. “I wanted to find the exact spot where Joaquín Sorolla did that painting in 1910, and I was immediately surprised because the prickly pear plants in his picture are still there,” he said.
He took a photo from that same spot, close to a watchtower, and superimposed it on the original.
“Apart from the fact that there was a 100-year difference between the two images, you can see that the silhouette of the Peñón del Cuervo, the coastline in the distance, the old railway tunnel and the Montes de Malaga behind are the same,” he added.
González-Alba has also been to Cap Martí in Javea and says there is no comparison. “I can’t believe that in 100 years nobody has noticed the difference,” he said.