Art/ Collection/ Art Object

Mrs. Mary Arthur

Artist:
Thomas Eakins (American, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1844–1916 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
Date:
1900
Medium:
Oil on canvas
Dimensions:
24 x 20 in. (61 x 50.8 cm)
Classification:
Paintings
Credit Line:
Gift of Mary Arthur Bates, 1965
Accession Number:
65.83
On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 774
This bust-length portrait, in a format Eakins used often after 1900, depicts the seventy-six-year-old mother of his friend Robert Arthur, an artist. As an image of an elderly model absorbed in an old-fashioned manual task, the work recalls Eakins's "The Writing Master" (17.173). Here, as in the earlier painting, Eakins used strong contrasts of light and dark to define forms and highlighted the hands and face to suggest both manual dexterity and the wisdom of age. The portrait’s austere palette and eloquence reflect Eakins’s study of works by the seventeenth-century masters Rembrandt van Rijn, Jusepe de Ribera, and Diego Velázquez.
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