Konstantinos Volanakis
Steamship at sea
oil on canvas
54.5 x 100.5 cm
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A steamship bedecked with flags is crossing the turbulent sea, leaving thick smoke behind. Small and large sailboats are sailing a fair distance away, up to the point where the gaze is lost on the open horizon. The composition has an austere style and is particularly imposing, with an impeccable perspective. The sparse, selective illustrations give the viewer the opportunity to admire the realistic rendering of the swelling sea, including tonal gradations and minimal bursts of colour.

The atmosphere is hazy but sufficiently bright and gets very dark where there is dense steam. Once again, Volanakis painted all the equipment of the main ship, the dinghies, masts, sails, maritime flags, ropes, anchor chains, rope ladder, funnel, and the exact layout of the deck in great detail. The human presence is provocatively absent, as the creator chose to focus on the seascape and the reflections of the light.


Stelios Lydakis, Volanakis, Athens 1997, p. 99.

Marilena Z. Kassimati (curator), Constantinos Volanakis: Poet of the Sea, exhibition catalogue, Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation, Hellenic Maritime Museum, Athens 2009, pp. 162-163, 185 (Steamship on the open sea).

Takis Mavrotas (curator), Constantinos Volanakis: The Father of Greek Seascape Painting, exhibition catalogue, B&M Theocharakis Foundation for the Fine Arts, Athens 2018, p. 81.

Thodoris Koutsogiannis (curator), Constantinos Volanakis: Nostos of the Sea. Artworks from the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation collection, exhibition catalogue, Municipal Art Gallery of Chania, pp. 36, 144-145.

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

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