Thomas Eakins American

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 764

Like other academically trained American artists in the 1880s, Eakins explored classical themes but without the typical narrative contrivances and idealized models. Dating from the time of his appointment as director of the school of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Eakins’s series of Arcadian works declared his commitment to the nude as the basis of art and art instruction. To execute this work, he projected photographic images with a magic lantern onto the canvas, and incised reference marks into the pigment to guide his brush. The female figure at left has been identified as Susan Macdowell, the artist’s future wife.

Arcadia, Thomas Eakins (American, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1844–1916 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), Oil on canvas, American

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