Constantinos Volanakis (Greek 1837-1907) Harbour scene 55 x 40 cm. (21 5/8 x 15 3/4 in.)

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Lot 40
Constantinos Volanakis
(Greek 1837-1907)
Harbour scene 55 x 40 cm. (21 5/8 x 15 3/4 in.)

Sold for £ 116,650 (US$ 144,210) inc. premium
Constantinos Volanakis (Greek 1837-1907)
Harbour scene
signed in greek (lower right)
oil on canvas
55 x 40 cm. (21 5/8 x 15 3/4 in.)

Footnotes

  • Provenance:
    Private collection, Athens.

    A towering figure in the history of Greek marine painting, Volanakis studied in Munich under Karl von Piloty and made the Bavarian capital his home for nearly 20 years, returning to Athens in 1883. Influenced by 17th century Dutch masters and the Italians Canaletto and Guardi, he paid meticulous attention to detail and the chromatic harmony of his many compositions of naval battle scenes, ships in port and harbour life.

    A profound love for the sea underpins the artist’s work. Familiar with its many moods and the vessels that plied its waters, he tried to record it as faithfully as possible – and always with certain lyricism.

    The present picture, stunning with its delicate colours and sense of tranquility, bears testimony to the artist’s skill in rendering the effects of atmospheric light and capturing the majesty of the grand sailing ships of the 19th century. The central motif of the vertical composition is the stately ship that floats motionless with its lowered sails and the Greek flag at its prow.

    The distinctive features of the ship, the cables hanging from the masts, the textures of the sails and the reflections in the barely rippling water are depicted with a singular concern for realistic detail.

    The artist’s keen observation and his poetic rendering of the ephemeral aspects of light are demonstrated by the quality of early evening illumination that bathes the scene with its misty veil. Masterful in its depiction of perspective, the relation of ships to one another, and the quality of light, the present work is a striking example of the artist’s creative powers.
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