Konstantinos Volanakis
The “Bonheur” sailing off the coast
oil on canvas
73 x 136 cm
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The depiction of the “Bonheur” crossing the white-crested waves is another work by Volanakis that is included in his seascapes with a strong dramatic style, as evidenced by the gloomy surrounding atmosphere and the stormy sea.

In the centre of the composition, a two-masted paddle steamer is depicted struggling against the raging waves. The painter’s narrative mood is evident, as each particular feature is described in detail: the ship’s name on the bow, the French flag on the stern, the two smoking funnels in the middle, the taut sails on the foremast, the sail-less aft mast, the paddle wheels and the lifeboats. The bow is raised and the stern is almost submerged in the water, as a number of crewmembers are depicted on the deck and the bridge.

The warm tones of the sky are soft and become bright only at one spot in the horizon, while the hues in the sea are dark, and only the white foam stands out. The seascape is completed with the image of a sailboat near a rocky reef in the background of the composition.


Marilena Z. Kassimati (curator), Constantinos Volanakis: The Poet of the Sea, exhibition catalogue, Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation, Hellenic Maritime Museum, Athens 2009, pp. 170-171, 185 (n.d.).

Takis Mavrotas (curator), Constantinos Volanakis: The Father of Greek Seascape Painting, exhibition catalogue, B&M Theocharakis Foundation for the Fine Arts, Athens 2018, pp. 84-85 (“The “Bonheur” sailing off the coast”, n.d.).

Thodoris Koutsogiannis (curator), Constantinos Volanakis: Nostos of the Sea. Artworks from the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation collection, exhibition catalogue, Municipal Art Gallery of Chania, pp. 154-155.

Sotheby’s / London, The Greek Sale, 22/05/2006.

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