Almost everything about this artwork goes against the name of Sorolla which is signed into the bottom left corner. There are no figures, no wide landscapes, no activity, it is essentially a still life artwork based in someone's patio garden. But, the lighting is entirely consistent with his style, particularly from when he hit the 20th century. Bright tones flood into the scene in ways that make us forget how he was so inspired in his early years by the likes of Diego Velazquez. The piece feels like a sudden, unplanned decision by the artist to work whilst away somewhere, quickly snapping into gear to work and capture some pretty flowers in an unknown location. Sorolla was very much a fan of nature, for sure, but individual gardens would normally only appear as backdrops to a personal portrait. We must also remember that path that this artist went on across his career, where financial security only arrived after a number of decades and so perhaps this is an example of Sorolla enjoying experimenting with different genres, knowing that his financial future, and that of his family's, was finally secure.
In front of us here, within A Rooftop with Flowers, we find a low wooden table on which a number of pots have been placed in the bottom left corner of the painting. A wall sweeps in from that side and continues across the back of the painting, setting the scene of this enclosed garden. There is then a wealth of colour and foliage along the backwall, leaving barely any parts of the wall still visible. A line of shade comes across the left hand side, covering part of the ground and also giving us an indication of the structure of the building and the angle of the sun. This feels like a domestic garden, perhaps in a relatively small spot where the gardener does not have a huge amount of space available and so relies on potted plants which can easily be moved around and also better suit what is mainly a stone floor without any ability to plant directly into the ground.
A Rooftop with Flowers offers something different within the oevure of Sorolla and so for that we must be very grateful for this item. One can imagine that he produced this painting on somewhat of a whim, perhaps when visiting a friend or neighbour and suddenly felt excited by the bright colours of the flowers in this makeshift garden. He would not normally have planned an artwork in this way, with an enclosed environment and no human figures within it either. Gardens have been used by the Impressionists many times, with Caillebotte and Monet both being keen gardeners themselves, and other greatily appreciating the colours that can come about when choosing certain species of plant. The brushwork found within this painting is also fairly rough and fast, suggesting that he was painting for fun and enjoyment rather than rigidly following direction from an influential patron.