The artist's family would appear many times within his oeuvre, in a variety of formal and informal guises. Most of these portraits were intended to stay within the family and never be sold to private collectors, such was the intimacy that Sorolla felt for them. He also regularly gifted ownership of them to his wife, sometimes signing them in a way as to indicate as much. In the example of this painting, The Skipping Rope, the artist is in La Granja de San Ildefonso and chooses to produce a portrait of his daughter Elena playing with other children around a beautiful fountain. Elena herself is burning off some energy with the use of a skipping rope, hence the title of the piece, and also enjoying interacting with these other children with whom she would not have been previously familiar. The actual setting is believed to have been the gardens of the Royal Palace, Segovia. There is a real energy to this artwork as Sorolla manages to capture children enjoying their freedom and this type of scene generated a real charm that many people in the present day can appreciate and connect to.
There have been a number of photographs from this trip discovered in the Museo Sorolla which actually feature a similar location and so this all adds to the interest behind this painting. Sorolla may even have studied several photographs or drawings of his daughter skipping in order to correctly capture her pose, as this would not have been a posture that he would have covered very often. In most cases his children would be running around, often along the beaches of Valencia, as his work is often best remembered. Within this painting there is a fairly simple reflection from the fountain, as well as some use of shadow that suggests this to have been a particularly bright day.
This painting can now be found at the Museo Sorolla in Madrid, a venue which remains the best place to go in order to learn more about this artist's life and career. They hold a good selection of his work within their permanent collection and also feature plenty of other resources too, such as letters and photographs which help to broaden our knowledge of the man himself. Also in Madrid you can find the Prado Museum that hosts a number of other paintings from his extensive career alongside a number of more traditional artists from previous centuries, some of whom were direct influences on Sorolla himself. For example, we are all aware of his respect for Velazquez's Las Meninas, but other items of note to be found here include The Garden of Earthly Delights Triptych by Hieronymus Bosch, The Annunciation by Fra Angelico and this Self Portrait by Albrecht Durer.