Konstantinos Volanakis
The disembarkation
oil on canvas
86 x 61 cm
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The passenger steamship is depicted, imposing and huge, from the bow to the entire length of one side, anchored in the centre of the scene. The harbour dock is to the left, anchored sailboats can be seen behind it and tall massifs are clearly visible further back. To the right of the main subject unfolds a seascape of sailboats sailing in the open sea.

There is a relative tension in the centre, and many actions are taking place simultaneously. Some boats are already alongside the steamship and others are heading towards the embarkation point. Some passengers are waiting in the boats to board and others are already climbing up the rope ladder. The largest boat is filled with luggage that sailors are loading onto the boat with ropes.

The individual details are impressive, such as the full long beard of the boatman in the first boat, the two tiny human figures on the deck below the sails, the variety of clothing worn by the travellers and crew, as well as the detailed pictorial description of all the fittings of the steamship and the dinghies.

Koutsogiannis (p. 51) says: “Metaphorically speaking, Volanakis’ disembarkation in modern Greek art was accompanied by a lot of luggage, which he carried on the great ship of the Western European artistic tradition: the scene has been visualised by our painter himself in his work The disembarkation”.


Marilena Z. Kassimati (curator), Constantinos Volanakis: Poet of the Sea, exhibition catalogue, Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation, Hellenic Maritime Museum, Athens 2009, pp. 107, 181.

Takis Mavrotas (curator), Constantinos Volanakis: The Father of Greek Seascape Painting, exhibition catalogue, B&M Theocharakis Foundation for the Fine Arts, Athens 2018, p. 115.

Thodoris Koutsogiannis (curator), Constantinos Volanakis: Nostos of the Sea. Artworks from the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation collection, exhibition catalogue, Municipal Art Gallery of Chania, pp. 50, 58-59.

Sotheby’s / London, The Greek Sale, 18/11/2003.

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