Konstantinos Volanakis
Boats at sunset
oil on canvas
49 x 75 cm
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Volanakis depicts a seascape with various one, two and three-masted sailboats, barques, brigs and a steamship sailing in a slightly turbulent sea. The atmosphere is imposing and the vastness of the landscape creates a profound sense of awe, owed to the dim light of the overcast sky and the dark undulating sea. Everything is in motion and everything seems momentary and changeable. The painting includes all the academic rules and impeccable realistic rendering that Volanakis knows and represents so well, but there are also clear elements reminiscent of an early impressionistic style, which he uses to describe the transient impression of a particular moment. His strong narrative mood is also evidenced by the individual pictorial references, either emphatic, such as the thick smoke coming out of the steamship’s funnel, or subtle, such as the rendering of the deck’s unique features, as well as the seagulls flying over the turbulent wet surface. This time, any human presence is absent, as is any allusion to land.


Stelios Lydakis, Volanakis, Athens 1997, p. 86 (Title: Nocturne).

Marilena Z. Kassimati (curator), Constantinos Volanakis: Poet of the Sea, exhibition catalogue, Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation, Hellenic Maritime Museum, Athens 2009, pp. 164, 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. 83.

Thodoris Koutsogiannis (curator), Constantinos Volanakis: Nostos of the Sea. Artworks from the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation collection, exhibition catalogue, Municipal Art Gallery of Chania, pp. 140-141.

Sotheby’s / London, The Greek Sale, 16/11/2004.

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