Konstantinos Volanakis
The port of Piraeus
oil on canvas
50.5 x 39.5 cm
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Steamships, sailing ships, boats, fishing boats and scenes of everyday life are depicted in this complex painting by Volanakis with a strong impressionistic rendering. The painter’s interest is focused on the different types of ships, on the main scene of people boarding and, emphatically, on the rendering of the calm sea in the port. In contrast, the topographic references are schematic, in the background of the composition, where one can only discern a rocky coastal area and a set of residences with no particular features.

Several sailboats can be seen on the left, in the anchorage, and in the centre is a passenger ship at anchor offshore, which is being boarded by men and women waiting in boats with rowers and shades. At this point, the painter renders the individual details of the scene in colour, the porters loading the luggage and even the people on deck watching the action. The bright and shadowy reflections on the water have also been rendered impressively.

To cite a few examples, the theme of embarkation, one of Volanakis’ favourite individual illustrations, can be found in the works “Sailboat at anchor and fishing boat” (1883-1885), “The disembarkation” (1885-1890) and “Departure from Piraeus to Tinos” (1885-1890) from the collection of the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation.


Marilena Z. Kassimati (curator), Constantinos Volanakis: Poet of the Sea, exhibition catalogue, Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation, Hellenic Maritime Museum, Athens 2009, pp. 106, 181.

Takis Mavrotas (curator), Constantinos Volanakis: The Father of Greek Seascape Painting, exhibition catalogue, B&M Theocharakis Foundation for the Fine Arts, Athens 2018, p. 114.

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, 64-65.

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

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