Heading into shore signed in Greek (lower left) oil on canvas 71 x 111 cm.
PROVENANCE: Epaminondas Simantiras collection who acquired the work directly from the artist's sister. Private collection, Athens.
Surging confidently through choppy seas, an imposing two-masted sailing vessel showcases Volanakis's great aptitude in capturing a ship's likeness in all its intricacy, splendour and forceful energy. Its vigorous presence dominates the picture plane, while the low horizon gives full value to the spaciousness of the translucent sky, evoking a substantial visual depth in the vein of 17th century Dutch masters. The diagonal stream of evanescent clouds, soaring across this vast expanse and seeming to unfurl beyond the confines of the canvas, matches the movement of the rolling waves, creating a diagonal rhythm that draws the eye to the rocky shore on the right. Not too far away, these looming cliffs may be read as a metaphor for the ever-present perils an able navigator must constantly steer clear of. The painting's force is also owed to the energetic portrayal of the boat heading ashore and the meticulous articulation of its passengers. Exceptionally rendered, this patchwork of people animates the entire scene, while perfectly blending in with the natural environment. Both in his years in Munich Academy and during his Greek period (1884-1907), which this work belongs to, Volanakis perceived the seascape as a homogenous whole allowing him to seek the ideal balance between nature's elemental forces and man's will to master.