Konstantinos Volanakis
Frigate along the shore
oil on canvas
64 x 116 cm
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The vastness of the seascape dominates this scene. Volanakis’ seascape is interrupted by a rocky mass and depicts a tilting frigate struggling across the turbulent sea. Cloudiness prevails everywhere, suggesting the late evening hour and lending a dramatic tone to the whole atmosphere.
This is a perfectly consistent and simply structured composition by Volanakis, who, apart from the open sea, depicts only a sailboat and a reef. The horizontal line where the sea meets the sky and the land is interrupted by the emblematic vertical presence of the three-masted vessel with its well-designed topgallant sails, topsails, royal sails, jibs and boom sails open on the masts. All of the vessel’s special features have been rendered with perfect accuracy, and two human figures are faintly outlined on the deck. In contrast, the land has been rendered in an entirely schematic way, without detail. Finally, the waves are painted diligently, with alternating dark tones in an obvious impressionistic style.


Marilena Z. Kassimati (curator), Constantinos Volanakis: Poet of the Sea, exhibition catalogue, Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation, Hellenic Maritime Museum, Athens 2009, pp. 166-167, 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, p. 97 (“Frigate”).

Thodoris Koutsogiannis (curator), Constantinos Volanakis: Nostos of the Sea. Artworks from the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation collection, exhibition catalogue, Municipal Art Gallery of Chania, p. 143 (“Frigate along the shore”).

Sotheby’s / London, The Greek Sale, 14/11/2007.

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