Konstantinos Volanakis
The port of Piraeus
oil on canvas
31 x 41 cm
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A complex representation with a balanced composition depicting the port of Piraeus. The buildings in the coastal area are depicted in the background of the painting and have been rendered in an entirely schematic way, essentially described only as masses of buildings. In the foreground, the seagulls and the sea are depicted in absolute serenity and the water is almost transparent, without even a slight ripple. In the zone in the middle, Volanakis depicts various ships with selective detailing. A large anchored paddle steamer with masts at the stern looms on the left. Various moored sailboats can be faintly seen next to it, and in the centre a one-masted vessel is crossing the port with its sail billowing. In the background, one and two-masted ships are outlined on the right, close to the shore. The defining pictorial detail of a towering ship with its anchor chain taut is just visible on the right side in the foreground.

The work’s theme is “The port of Piraeus”, but the painting is characterised by a strong simplicity and is entirely different from the work “Departure from Piraeus to Tinos” (1885-1890), where everything is described in detail.


Takis Mavrotas (curator), Constantinos Volanakis: The Father of Greek Seascape Painting, exhibition catalogue, B&M Theocharakis Foundation for the Fine Arts, Athens 2018, p. 112.

Thodoris Koutsogiannis (curator), Constantinos Volanakis: Nostos of the Sea. Artworks from the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation collection, exhibition catalogue, Municipal Art Gallery of Chania, pp. 66-67.

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