The 'Averoff' at battle signed in Greek (lower right) oil on canvas 45 x 73 cm.
By the power of God and our Kings blessings and in the name of justice, I sail towards victory against our nations enemy Rear Admiral Pavlos Kountouriotis, 1912
The flagship of the Greek fleet and the most important and impressive vessel in the history of the Hellenic Navy, the battleship Averoff surges through the choppy seas of the Aegean, engaged in open warfare with the Turkish fleet. Purchased by the Greek Navy in 1910, Averoff was named after the great national benefactor, whose bequest covered most of the 25 million gold drachma cost.
At the outbreak of the First Balkan War, under the command of Rear Admiral Pavlos Kontouriotis, the legendary ship set sail for the Dardanelles Straits, liberating along the way most of the Aegean islands. The inevitable engagement with the Turkish fleet led to major victories in the battle of Elli (December 1912) and the Battle of Limnos (January 1913), whittling away at the Sultans hopes to control the Aegean.
On government orders, Hantzis observed operations aboard the warships Averoff and Miaoulis or from the Moudros naval base on the island of Limnos, recording the glorious historical events with spontaneity, directness and evocative realism.1 According to Professor M. Vlachos, an expert in Greek seascape and marine painting, Hantzis renditions of the battleship Averoff are the most successful ship portraits he ever produced.2
1. See 2. See Z. Haidou-Lykouri, The Pathways of the Sea Meet the Pathways of Art in The Sea, exhibition catalogue, Municipal Gallery of Athens - Hellenic Maritime Museum, Athens 2000, p. 53. See also F. Yofyllis, History of Modern Greek Art, [in Greek], vol.1, To Elliniko Viblio publ., Athens 1962, p. 206 and M. Vlachos, The Greek Seascape Painting [in Greek], Olkos publ. Athens 1993, p. 232. 2. M.V. (M. Vlachos) in Dictionary of Greek Artists [in Greek], vol. 4, Melissa publ., Athens 1999, p. 444.