Konstantinos Volanakis
Boats at sea
oil on canvas
43 x 67.5 cm
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A seascape of a stormy sea at dusk. The open sea is depicted in all its glory, all across the painting, with emphasis on the foreground of the composition. The waves move in a pulsating manner, formed by tonal scales of deep, dark, cool hues. The sky is scattered with clouds and illuminated by bright, golden reflections in selected cloudless spots. Three vessels are depicted in the sea. On the left, a steamship is sailing away in the background, with thick smoke pouring out of its funnel into the atmosphere. In the centre, a sailboat with set sails is struggling against the churning waves. On the right, another sailboat can be seen sailing in front of a long, semi-mountainous strip of land. The individual pictorial accounts have not been rendered in detail but only in an impressionistic style as colour references. The only specific references are certain special features of the hull and the rigging of the large sailboat.

The human presence is completely absent, and attention is directed to the awe-inspiring landscape.


Marilena Z. Kassimati (curator), Constantinos Volanakis: Poet of the Sea, exhibition catalogue, Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation, Hellenic Maritime Museum, Athens 2009, pp. 165, 185.

Takis Mavrotas (curator), Constantinos Volanakis: The Father of Greek Seascape Painting, exhibition catalogue, B&M Theocharakis Foundation for the Fine Arts, Athens 2018, p. 42, fig. 28, 82.

Thodoris Koutsogiannis (curator), Constantinos Volanakis: Nostos of the Sea. Artworks from the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation collection, exhibition catalogue, Municipal Art Gallery of Chania, pp. 132-133.

Sotheby’s / London, The Greek Sale, 02/10/2002.

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