CULTURE

A panorama of Volanakis’s art

The Hellenic Maritime Museum offers a rare opportunity to see 62 paintings by Konstantinos Volanakis all gathered under one roof. The exhibition, which opened recently, extols the art of Greece’s most prominent seascape painter, an artist who died in poverty and neglect, but who was honored by later generations for the uniqueness of his works. The exhibition is a joint collaboration of the Hellenic Maritime Museum (HMM) and the Aikaterini Laskaridi Foundation, which is also the exclusive sponsor. The event’s success lies in the fact that works by Volanakis from private and public collections have been brought together for the first time, so visitors have the unique opportunity to admire a panorama of his art. Artist’s universe Volanakis’s seascapes, sailing boats, ports and figures set against a gray sky or calm sea open the window to a very different world, one through which many Greeks can gain an emotional glimpse at 19th-century Greece. One of the most important representatives of the Munich School, Volanakis is very much a part of the European seascape tradition, who very often highlights the very fast pace of modernization that Greece experienced in the last quarter of the 19th century. Visitors can view some of the artist’s most famous paintings, such as «I Pyrpolisi tis Tourkikis Navarhidas apo ton Kanari» (The Setting on Fire of the Turkish Flagship by Kanaris), «I Navmachia tou Navarinou» (The Battle of Navarino), «I Apovivasi tis Prigipissas Sofias sto limani tou Pirea» (The Disembarkation of Princess Sofia at Piraeus), «Ston Keratio Kolpo» (On the Golden Horn) and many more. National Gallery curator Marilena Z. Kasimati conducted the research and tracked down the works that are now on display. A bilingual catalog, in Greek and English, which includes a rich bibliography on 19th-century Greek painting, has been published especially for the exhibition. It contains texts by Manolis Vlachos, former professor at the University of Athens and a special researcher on Volanakis, Ioannis Paloumbis, retired vice admiral and HMM member, and Marilena Kasimati, while there are also introductions by the museum’s president, Anastasia Anagnostopoulou, and the Aikaterini Laskaridi Foundation’s president, Panos Laskaridis. The exhibition «Konstantinos Volanakis: The Poet of the Sea» was inaugurated by Economy and Merchant Marine Minister Louka Katseli at the Hellenic Maritime Museum (Akti Themistocleous, Freattyda, Piraeus, tel 210.451.6264, 210.428.6959), where it runs through January 17, 2010.