Thomas Eakins: 11 works

A slideshow of artworks auto-selected from multiple collections

By Google Arts & Culture

Talcott Williams (c. 1889) by Thomas Cowperthwaite EakinsSmithsonian's National Portrait Gallery

'Many of these were bust portraits, and Eakins is noted for the variety he was able to achieve in this limited format. By depicting Williams with an expression of intense concentration on his face and his mouth open as though in conversation, Eakins succeeded in suggesting the energy, quick wit, and lively intelligence of his subject, who was known among friends as "Talk-a-lot" Williams.'

The Courtship (ca. 1878) by Thomas Eakinsde Young museum

'Eakins traveled to Spain in 1870, where he studied Velázquez's work.'

[George Reynolds: Seven Photographs] (1883) by Thomas EakinsThe J. Paul Getty Museum

'This series of images of George Reynolds, Thomas Eakins's student at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, comes from what Eakins called his "naked series," studies of the human form in successive shifts of weight and posture.'

Eakins's Students at the "The Swimming Hole" (1884)The J. Paul Getty Museum

'Thomas Eakins stands slightly apart at the left, the master and teacher observing his frolicking students at Mill Creek near Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Eakins used this photograph, one of a series of studies featuring nude boys playing at a variety of outdoor sports, to develop his painting The Swimming Hole , originally titled Swimming .'

[Male Figures at the Site of "Swimming"] (1884) by Thomas EakinsThe J. Paul Getty Museum

'Eakins used this photograph, one of a series of studies featuring nude boys playing at a variety of outdoor sports, to develop his painting The Swimming Hole, originally titled Swimming. Seeking to associate the youths with the classical Greek ideals of physical beauty, strength, and camaraderie, he posed them in a dynamic arrangement in and out of the water, representing them as types rather than individuals.'

[Study of Muscular Action: Young Man Leaning on a Horse's Leg] (1885) by Thomas EakinsThe J. Paul Getty Museum

'Eakins assisted Muybridge in finding models for his motion studies, and, erecting a separate shed on the campus, Eakins began to conduct his own experiments. This photograph is one of a series of what Eakins called "differential-action" studies, which culminated nine years later in a lecture entitled "The Differential Action of Certain Muscles Passing More than One Joint."'

The Concert Singer (1890-1892) by Thomas Eakins, American, 1844 - 1916Philadelphia Museum of Art

'When he started to paint again, after a two-year period of depression, he concentrated on the penetrating portrait studies that would comprise the majority of his work until his death. His laborious procedure for exactly representing the act of singing was described by Weda Cook, the performer seen in this painting.'

Self Portrait (1902) by Thomas EakinsNational Academy of Design

'In fulfillment of the institution's requirement for Associate membership, he painted this self-portrait over the course of the next two months.'

Archbishop William Henry Elder (December 1903) by Thomas Eakins (American, b.1844, d.1916)Cincinnati Art Museum

'In December 1903, at age eighty-four, Archbishop William Henry Elder was nearing the end of a noteworthy career when he sat for Thomas Eakins, who had traveled to Cincinnati to paint this portrait.'

Portrait of John B. Gest (1905) by Thomas EakinsThe Museum of Fine Arts, Houston

'The piercing gaze and the taut, sinewy hands of the aging subject carry the emotional weight of the painting and testify to Eakins's life-long commitment to portraying the human condition in all its heroism and frailty. Commissioned from Eakins by the Fidelity Trust Company for $700, this portrait of Fidelity's president, John B. Gest, has little to do with what one might think of as corporate portraiture: bland, formulaic images of seated, appropriately attired men intended to portray serious-minded, upstanding members of the community.'

Monsignor James P. Turner (ca. 1906) by Thomas EakinsThe Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

'Eakins may have executed this grander, full-length portrait to commemorate the cleric's ascent to the high rank of Prothonotary Apostolic in 1906.'

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