In the present work, a square-rigged Greek cutter lies at anchor framed by other ships in the harbour. Visible beneath its bowsprit is a ship coming to port in the left distance, and a man rowing a skiff in the foreground. Characterized by remarkable detail, it is a stunning example of Volanakis's mature period.
The present work attests not only to Volanakis' love of ships and the sea, but of the effects of light, wind and atmosphere. The painting is as much an exploration of the sun bathing the focal ship and distant shoreline in a warm yellow light, as it is a marine painting in the traditional sense. It is also a masterpiece in the study of perspective, space, and distance in the artist's observation of the boats in relation to one another, as well as his handling of the receding clouds coming down to meet the horizon.
As Elli Kaplani-Kokkini pointed out: "During his Greek period, it was the nature of the place itself, and particularly the peculiar limpidity of the Mediterranean light that influenced the rendering of these subjects. This is seen in the tonality of the light, the clear colours and the realistic brushwork that signals his interpretation with perfect clarity.'' (Municipal Art Gallery of Thessaloniki, Constantinos Volanakis (1837-1907), Thessaloniki, 2003, p. 69).
Volanakis' depictions of the sea, his lifelong Romantic spirit and virtuoso brushwork brought him universal acclaim and recognition. After periods spent in Munich, Vienna and Trieste, he returned definitively to Greece in 1884, and spent his remaining years in Piraeus.
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