Thomas Eakins: America's Most Influential Artist

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As a realistic painter, photographer, sculptor, and fine arts educator, Thomas Eakins, is known to be one of America’s most influential artists. Eakins was named, “the strongest, most profound realist in nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century American art.” (“Wyeth Lecture”) Thomas Eakins enjoyed painting human figures in motion, nude or lightly nude. He preferred to paint human bodies in motion rather than any other topic. Furthermore, majority of Eakins’s paintings can be symbolized as portraitures, since the main subject or a subject in the background was a painting of someone he knew. His interest of painting nude models made his art controversial and not appealing to the public. This exhibition will highlight some of Eakins paintings…show more content…
Thomas Eakins is undeniably one of America’s most influential artists; even though, he didn’t receive this recognition until after his death. Eakins was born July 25th, 1844 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and lived there majority of his life. He studied at Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts and spent four years studying abroad in France and Spain. During his studies and throughout his career Eakins was fascinated with the human body and how muscles would protrude while in motion. To insure that his paintings would be realistic, he also attended an anatomy lecture at Jefferson Medical College, where he would participate in dissections. Similar to impressionist, Thomas Eakins painted everyday life in Philadelphia, but painted people doing what he enjoyed to do more than then norms of society. Eakins also acquired a teaching job at the Pennsylvania Academy and was characterized as a charismatic and innovative professor, but ten years later due to his controversial teaching methods, Eakins was…show more content…
Eakins painted people he knew, respected, and people who participated in outdoor activities that he himself also enjoyed doing. Despite what Eakins contemporaries believed or studied Eakins truly believed that, the human figure was the most important subject in art. Eakins was a remarkable and versatile artist that could paint, sculpt, draw, photograph, and watercolor. Eakins obsession with the human figure drove him to use different mediums to depict the human figure before he painted, such as sculpting and photography. Photography was a major turning point in Eakins work. During his time as a professor he was assigned to a committee to oversee a famous photographer of figures in motion named, Eadweard Muybridge. Due to Eakins being somewhat of a perfectionist, he wasn’t impressed with Eadweard’s work and began investigating photography of figures in motion himself. Eakins was a dedicated to his work despite recognition and tried to perfect each medium he invested in to increase the realism in his

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