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The Greek Sale / Constantinos Volanakis (Greek, 1837-1907) Pêcheurs ramassant les filets (signed in Greek (lower left)oil on canvas)
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S. Lydakis, Constantinos Volanakis, Adam editions, Athens 1997, pp. 124-125 (illustrated).
A brilliant evocation of a serene Mediterranean seascape, Hauling in the nets displays the hallmarks of Volanakis's finest oils from his Greek period (1884-1907): virtuoso brushwork, immediacy of execution, sensitive colour, harmony of proportion, and precision of detail (note the masterly handling of the distant sailing vessels peacefully floating on calm waters.) Particularly remarkable is the sense of open space, a grandiose spread of sea and skyscape perceived from a very low viewpoint in the vein of the 17th century Dutch masters and animated by subtle but radiant lighting that lends a lyrical resonance to the work.
The sidelong depiction of the fishing boat that intersects with the diagonal defined by the floating net corks draws the eye to the human activity inside the two boats. As in many of his most characteristic works, Volanakis selected the subject of the fishing boat to exploit its romantic elements rather than to portray toil and struggle. As noted by M. Vlachos, who wrote the artist's monograph, Volanakis was in constant communion with nature, in a composite relationship from which poetry emerges. Especially his love for and familiarity with small vessels produced works of pure lyricism.1
1 See M. Vlachos, The Painter Constantinos Volanakis (1837-1907), Athens 1974, pp. 109-122.