"I live in Javea so of course I know of the artist Joaquín Sorolla and how he would come here to holiday with his family and I have visited the Sorolla museum in Madrid which is set in his former family home. When I saw that Karla was giving a lecture on Sorolla I didn’t hesitate to sign up as I wanted to learn more about him. 

Karla told us about Sorolla’s early life, how he and his sister were orphaned at a young age and how he became interested in art at around the age of nine. I did not realize that he studied in both Rome and Paris before returning to Valencia to marry Clotilde Garcia del Castillo. I found this biography of him to be very interesting, it made me appreciate the man behind the artist.
Karla presented a slideshow of various works, both landscapes and portraits. I particularly liked his paintings of children - commissioned works of privileged children born in the upper classes and those less fortunate, as of physically disabled children bathing in the sea in Valencia, entitled Sad Inheritance. Of course, we also get to see his own children depicted in his works.
All this background information was particularly useful as I went with Karla to the Bancaja Foundation in Valencia for a Sorolla exhibition of some eighty-six of his paintings. It was wonderful to see the originals of those that I saw on the slideshow in Karla’s studio.
Karla has an in-depth knowledge of the art world and the painters and has a talent for sharing that knowledge in her talks in a relaxed way."

REVIEW * Lecture * The Terrifying Sublime of Goya

"I knew that Romanticism was not as romantic as we know it today. I knew it more as 'melancholic'. But Goya's Sublime went a step further. His strikingly emotional paintings of his time are depictions of the horrors in life - fires, ship wreaks, kidnappings, bandits, asylums, prisons, death, etc.

I can understand that his imagination took over when he painted what he read in the newspapers. I admit that these paintings are not exactly easy to look at, but the lecture helped me to understand the man and the painter better 

Karla allows us to see more than just a painting. I highly recommend Karla Darocas's classes."

 * jo jouas, denia


Congratulations on your book on Diego Velazquez.
I love your take on his works. That you go inside his head
Love that you go deeper than just a description of the paintings.
Very comprehensive.
I wondered if you would be so candid about the beautiful painting of Mars.
But you did. I was holding my breath a little in anticipation. But you went there!
Didn't hold back.
Strong stuff. 
Well Done.

REVIEW - TALK on GOYA'S Witchcraft

Thank you very much Karla, very interesting...

I must say it is great that your knowledge is so great, that you share all the interesting things, for example the fact that there are paintings by Goya in El Prado that are not actually painted by Goya!

I love your descriptions of the paintings. You always point out things that are important and that could be missed if you just looked at them without guidance.

Your whole talk today would make a fascinating book!

* Diana 


"A fascinating description of Diego Velázquez and his mythological paintings is an excellent read.

Karla Darocas has done it again. She knows how to keep her audience interested by presenting us with new themes and insights. In this case, you might think that the painter Diego Velázquez (1599-1660), who is so well known, and his world-famous painting Las Meninas (1656), which has been described so many times, that this is all we need to know about him. However, this new book by Karla sheds light on a subject that has not really been explored by others.

The book shows us Velázquez as a cultured man who was interested in disciplines such as ancient philosophy, astronomy, anatomy and sculpture. We find the result of his studies in beautiful and well-described paintings such as 'Mars' and 'Vulcan's Forge'. 

Karla explains where and how Velázquez found inspiration, whether in his early days in Seville or during his first years in Madrid, during his travels to Italy and in his later years in Madrid.

A detailed (cultural) historical context at the time, such as events and descriptions of the court and government/economy of King Felipe IV make the book a must for art historians. The mention of a variety of mythical figures such as Mercury and Argus or the Slave, Aesop and others gives an insight into the wealth of knowledge Velázquez gathered during his life. 

With this book in hand, the reader will experience a new world of 17th century art in Spain, Italy and Europe as it was known at the time. 

I highly recommend the well-written chapters, which are illustrated with beautiful colour photographs of dozens of Velázquez's paintings as well as works of art that certainly inspired the man. 

Karla's often witty personal comments will appeal to students of art history and encourage them to form their own opinions."  

- Trudi van Dorp, Cumbre del Sol, Spain

ART TALK * The Multiverse of Velázquez

"I found this art talk very interesting. I did not know that artists were not considered important and were considered craftsmen. I loved how Velásquez put the king and queen he was painting in the mirror and in the distance of the viewer and put all the less important people in the foreground - the artist, the princess, the dwarfs, the "meninas", as if to say that they were just as important as the king and queen and played an important role in the Spanish court. 

I learned that there was a lot going on in the painting - the man in the door held the door open, the little male dwarf tapped the dog and one of the meninas curtsied to the princess. All these actions suggest that they may all be leaving the room soon. Velásquez brilliantly creates a self-portrait by placing himself at the easel, which helps to highlight his importance as a court artist."

- Virgina, Javea


Karla, I loved your book Pride and Passion at the Prado.

I loved reading the amazing truth behind the beautiful pictures. It was hard times for some, and I loved the twists and turns in people's fates. Some very sad. Women, even queens, could be treated cruelly.
Torrijos was a great survivor, even encouraged by the great Duke of Wellington. And then, sadly, he was brought down at the end by his treacherous friend. Although I was glad he was stopped and survived the monarchy, you can not condemn someone for their principles.

A very informative, interesting book for art and history lovers.
A great reference book as you give so many historical dates.
I look forward to reading your new book.
It has been a pleasure.

Thank you.


"What a wonderful read, absolutely captivating and so much information written in a fabulously simple style. I just could not put the book down and feel the need to read it again. 

I love facts and history and really enjoy learning. Honestly, I found the whole life and adventures of Velázquez extremely interesting. What a fascinating man and such a wonderful artist. 

I love Karla's detailed explanations, the meanings of the paintings and her interpretations. 

I also love her first person style. For example, on page 26, when talking about St Bartholomew in Michelangelo's Last Judgement (1612, Sistine Chapel), she says: "If I look closely at the rectangular stone in the lower left corner of Velázquez's painting, a face appears." This makes the book very special, as if I were there looking at the painting and thinking about whose face it is. It's fun to speculate too. 

Honestly, I loved this book. It is so beautifully written and full of information that I really feel like I know and understand Velázquez and his paintings now!"

- D. Santiago - Jávea 



“A word of praise for Karla Darocas' latest book. It is an excellent concept of combining world-class art with the history of Spain. I had never read these stories in English before, and I just love them. As always, Karla writes with knowledge and passion. 

The stories are illustrated by the paintings and the paintings are explained in the stories. My favourite is the story of the lovers of Teruel. We took a trip there with Karla some time ago and the group enjoyed the famous monument thanks to such a true insight into the subject. Spanish culture comes alive. Well recommended!”

* Trudi van Dorp, Benitachell



“What a wonderful idea to retell Spain's most passionate stories for us in English. As always, Karla's new book, Passion & Pride at the Prado, is written in her very knowledgeable and exciting style. She always explores and explains the most beautiful art. It really is a must-read for lovers of Spanish culture, as it opens up a world of understanding for your Spanish heritage. The seven stories in this book are charged with a mixture of emotions and offer a variety of insights into the deep historical roots of this great country.

My favourite stories? The Lovers of Teruel is a sad and beautiful true love story. It is one of those stories about an impossible love that comes between the class differences between rich and poor. The painting that shows the story is beautiful, and I hope to stand in front of it one day in the Prado Museum.

I also found the story of The Conversion of the Duke of Gandia very interesting. A must-visit is the Palace of Gandia and you will understand this trip better after reading the story. The painting that accompanies this story is also incredible. Looking at it again now in the Prado, I will understand its meaning even better.”

* Diana from Javea



"Fabulous online Zoom lecture on Antoni Gaudi with Karla and looking forward to the rest. I found it interesting, informative & entertaining and absorbing. I have been a fan of Gaudi for years but never had he, or his work, been described so well. 

I am so happy to have found SpainLifestyle.com because of living in Spain, I want to understand the culture better and good classes in English are hard to find. I like the way Karla teaches with the use of drawings and photographs during her lecture. I would definitely recommend her classes. "

- Suzy Parker, Altea


"I've been wanting to learn more about Antoni Gaudi's work before I go to Barcelona and explore. I loved the class as Karla focussed on architecture that I hadn't seen in photographs before, as well as bringing attention to the small artistic details within the buildings. Inspiration!"   
- Sue Bell, Benissa


"To be honest, I was not a fan of Gaudi, so I booked the lecture to see whether Karla could convince me. 

As I expected, Karla has a keen eye for details and presents her classes with passion and knowledge. I never ever saw the works of Gaudi through her eyes before and I must say I now really appecriate this man and his amazing ( early) work. 

Karla's lecture made me long once again to times when we can resume our art history field trips and yes, I want to go to Barcelona and admire Gaudi 'face-to-face'. I just never before commited myself into a deeper study of Gaudi and his personal history. Now I know more and cannot wait to listen to part 2 of the lecture.

Karla's lectures are filled with illustrations, zooming into details, explanations, answering questions with knowledge."

- Trudi van Dorp, Benitachell


"I went to Karla's 1st lecture on Gaudi as a fan of his work, already thinking I might learn one or two things that I didn't already know...... Hahaha, I should have known better where Karla is concerned! 

I spent the whole hour thinking, wow, I didn't know that!! 

As always, Karla gets right under the skin of her subject and gives you knowledgeable and informed insights. I look forward to the next lecture in the series.

Karla's teaching is relaxed. informative, and fun."

- Christine Irving - Jesus Pobre



"It is always a roller coaster ride of discovery with Karla’s lectures .. from top to bottom!

She draws you in by painting a background, setting the scene, and then her knowledge of Gaudi brings his character to life. Suddenly, here is not just the name, but the real man brought to life. By understanding his place in life, where he lived and worked that brought an understanding as to how his buildings, exteriors and interiors were so unique.

Karla guides you around the details using text and photos, zooming in so you can really see the interesting parts.  Seeing a hand made wrought iron balustrade or designer painted tiles, enables you to really understand what Gaudí creating and how and why. 

Her passion for the topic and appreciation of the architectural skills of Gaudi are contagious and I very much look forward to being further inspired in part two!

Karla's teaching style is informative but relaxed and she takes time to clarify points or terms that might be new."

- Rhonda Jager-Stirling, Switzerland


"Wow!  I have been to Barcelona and seen a lot of Gaudi, but never understood how many techniques were involved in his creations.  

Karla showed us other houses outside Barcelona which are amazing.  I now understood her favourite saying, “It blew my mind away”!  

Looking forward to part two next week, and will be looking at his works in Barcelona with a more knowledgeable eye!  Thanks Karla."

-Allison in Javea


"I learnt about the very interesting life of Gaudí! What an artist! His works are incredible, so detailed and what an imagination! Karla's knowledge and explanation opened up his world to me!

Always enjoy Karla's lectures as they introduce new facets of each artists' life.

Her vast knowledge and her great enthusiasm are great when giving the lectures

Would you recommend Karla Darocas teaching and books to others? * 

Absolutely recommend her classes!!!"

Diane Santiago, Javea


"Just finished the first class on Antoni Gaudi.  I have been a fan of Gaudi's work for many years and this class was a stunner. I had so many "OH" moments during the class. I think it's because Karla has such an excellent grasp of architecture, that she easily puts his work into the context of the broader whole. It makes it that much more interesting. 

I am really looking forward to part 2 next week. 

I just want to thank Karla for enhancing my "old" brain with this wonderful knowledge. Pure pleasure!!! Her knowledge of the subject and her great tidbits add so much to the lecture. What a gift!

I absolutely recommend Karla Darocas's teaching. "

- Mimi from Valencia


"Everyone knows "Gaudi". This is what I thought, myself. But Karla's lecture on Gaudi's first years as an architect was just astonishing. 

Understanding his motivations and discovering his incredible imagination, Karla opened my eyes to what he would later develop. For example, Gaudi's materials - brick, ironwork, tiles... were physically made and used so artistically. I realize I have everything to learn about him.

Karla is knowledgeable in her domain and transmits her knowledge with ease. I recommend her lectures. "

-Jo Jouas, Denia