Constantinos Volanakis (Greek 1837-1907) Before dusk 67.5 x 60 cm. (26 ½ x 23 5/8 in.)

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Lot 26
Constantinos Volanakis (Greek 1837-1907) Before dusk 67.5 x 60 cm. (26 ½ x 23 5/8 in.)

Sold for £ 71,700 (US$ 87,709) inc. premium
Constantinos Volanakis (Greek 1837-1907)
signed C. Bolonachi (lower left)
oil on canvas

Footnotes

  • PROVENANCE:
    Mitarakis collection, Athens, and thence by descent
    Nonika Galinea collection, Athens.


    Volanakis’ fascination with the sea led him to a lifetime of tireless efforts to capture its elusive substance. The river landscape, however, is extremely rare in his work not only in terms of subject matter but also in terms of tonalities. In the present work Volanakis captures the northern light more closely than ever before, striving to understand the landscape through the eyes of a northerner.

    Influenced by the Munich school, which possessed a great tradition of river and lake landscape painting, Volanakis must also have turned to the Dutch artists whose work he appreciated during his visits to Munich’s Alte Pinakothek. Their rivers or seascapes had a sensitive quality that moved Volanakis who turned to these works for inspiration throughout his career, even after his Munich period (1864-1833).

    The present landscape affords an endless view of a river that runs through a valley. The glaring frontal sun, as Lorrain would have placed it on his canvas, blurs and dissolves any sign of lines. It is as if we close our eyes unable to stand its glare. The river, completely still and almost transparent is a challenge for the artist who sets out to capture the moment on canvas.
    Volanakis conceives the omnipotence of nature unified under the sun’s rays, including the staffage: the shepherdess with her flock, the strolling couple and the distant villa. They are almost absorbed by the surroundings in a romantic notion of art close to that of Lorrain and other masters of the past to whom he pays tribute.

    The artist creates his northern Arcadia, a place of sublime bliss.

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