Festival in Munich - Volanakis Κonstantinos

Volanakis Κonstantinos (1837 - 1907)

Festival in Munich, 1876

Oil on canvas, 60 x 130 cm

Alexandros Zachariou Bequest

Inv. Number Π.1398
On view Main Building

Konstantinos Volanakis is the greatest 19th century Greek seascapist. He mostly painted seascapes featuring beaches, ships, fishing boats, naval battles as well as historical subjects. This work is of a different content. It is a circus scene, such as those still performing today during the Oktoberfest in Munich. Spectators on the packed rows of an improvised theatre are watching the “acrobatics” performed by two elephants on a round stage, led by an animal tamer. The spectators sitting in the foreground, dressed in colourful period clothes and hats, project like dark shadows, while behind them the left part of the amphitheatre is intensely lit, making the colourful crowd glow with a multitude of colours. The shaded right part is rendered in dark tones. The work has been painted in free brushwork of pure paint, suggesting that Volanakis was already familiar with the discoveries of the French Impressionists. Indeed, as early as 1869, the Impressionist movement and Outdoor painting had already begun to become known in Munich. Similar crowd paintings were painted by Manet and Renoir in Paris.