Konstantinos Volanakis
Fishing in calm waters
oil on canvas
40.5 x 51 cm
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Absolute tranquility reigns all over the painting, and the stillness of the wind is evident. The calm transparent waters of the sea glitter with the reflected dim light piercing the overcast sky. A bare strip of land can be seen in the distance to the right, with moored boats and anchored sailboats outlined nearby. On the left, the expanse of sea disappears into the horizon, as a large sailboat with open sails, one of Volanakis’ pictorial distinctive features, can be seen sailing away.

Low in the sky, flying seagulls are scattered everywhere. In the centre of the scene, a trawl is depicted with detailed descriptions, and next to it are the bobbers of the nets that have been cast into the sea. Sails and utility objects hang over the wale, and four fishermen with different head coverings sit on the deck. The three in the centre are conversing and the trawlerman is holding the oars.

The colour choices, with subtle tonal gradations combined with Volanakis’ unparalleled descriptive skill, create a strong plasticity in the composition.


Marilena Z. Kassimati (curator), Constantinos Volanakis: Poet of the Sea, exhibition catalogue, Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation, Hellenic Maritime Museum, Athens 2009, pp. 160, 185.

Takis Mavrotas (curator), Constantinos Volanakis: The Father of Greek Seascape Painting, exhibition catalogue, B&M Theocharakis Foundation for the Fine Arts, Athens 2018, p. 92 (Fishing in calm waters).

Thodoris Koutsogiannis (curator), Constantinos Volanakis: Nostos of the Sea. Artworks from the Aikaterini Laskaridis Foundation collection, exhibition catalogue, Municipal Art Gallery of Chania, pp. 42, 126-127.

Sotheby’s / London, The Greek Sale, 17/04/2008.

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