Thomas Eakins 1844-1916 (USA) Realism, Pre-Impressionism, & Pre-Raphaelites

Eakins was an educator, sculptor, photographer, and realist painter who had a great interest in the human figure. Throughout his life, he painted a couple hundred portraits where his models for these works were often friends or family. He would bring many of the models for his watercolor and oil paintings into outdoor spaces and have them composed into full sunlight which then allowed him to freely paint the figures in motion. He tended to use nude and sometimes lightly clothed figures for both his paintings and photographs.

Eakins had a huge interest in motion photography and he is now credited for introducing the camera to the American art studio. While executing his images, he developed his own tricks for photography, as he would capture a sequence of exposures on just one negative plate. While others at that time were using the camera as a way to capture images, Eakins was interested in making his experimental motion shots look more like paintings. Some of his paintings are thought to have come from the photographs he shot since some of the artworks he produced looked extremely detailed. Overall, over 800 photographs were taken by him; therefore, Eakins was the most interested American to take on photography as a medium.

Eakins is now known as one of the most important artists in American history, although his work was rejected in his days. I honestly love his work (especially his photographs) because I think that he used his mediums in a way to express his own personal preference and style. Sadly, he only sold 30 paintings throughout his whole lifetime and it was only after his death that he started to gain some recognition for his work.



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