Konstantinos Volanakis
Moonlit harbour of Volos
oil on canvas
54 x 85 cm
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The harbour of Volos is depicted on a regular night under the dim moonlight. The painter’s interest is focused on outlining human activities in the weak light and on the poetic image of the water element, but also on rendering two contradictory images in the same composition; the silence of the seascape and the noise of human activities.

In the long waterfront area, next to the illuminated buildings, he also depicts a crowd of people. Some are walking casually, some are conversing, some are having fun, some are boarding ships, some are gazing out to sea, some are sitting on the pavement, some are working and some are riding in a carriage.

In the foreground, on the right, porters are depicted carrying cargo on a moored steamship, while a characteristic figure of a gentleman in a suit and hat is observing them. As a side note, art historians speculate that this is a self-portrait reference, but this has not been substantiated. What is certain is that a similar solitary figure is depicted often in Volanakis’ works. Several moored sailboats are in the harbour and another one is further away offshore.


Stelios Lydakis, Volanakis, Athens 1997, p. 116 (Title: “Nocturne”)

Marilena Z. Kassimati (curator), Constantinos Volanakis: Poet of the Sea, exhibition catalogue, Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation, Hellenic Maritime Museum, Athens 2009, pp. 104, 181 (By mistake, the title mentioned is: “Moonlit harbour of Piraeus”).

Takis Mavrotas (curator), Constantinos Volanakis: The Father of Greek Seascape Painting, exhibition catalogue, B&M Theocharakis Foundation for the Fine Arts, Athens 2018, p. 126.

Thodoris Koutsogiannis (curator), Constantinos Volanakis: Nostos of the Sea. Artworks from the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation collection, exhibition catalogue, Municipal Art Gallery of Chania, pp. 44, 178-179 (“Volos harbour at night”).

Bonhams / London, The Greek Sale, 15/05/2007

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