Thomas Eakins - The Gross Clinic - 1875

Thomas Eakins - The Gross Clinic - 1875

Thomas Eakins (1844 – 1916) was one of the greatest American artists of the 19th Century.  While attending the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, he took anatomy courses at Jefferson Medical College.  In 1866 he left for Paris where he studied at the École des Beaux-Arts with Jean-Léon Gérôme and Léon Bonnat.  In addition to copying in the Louvre, Eakins visited Spain where he copied Velázquez and Ribera in the Prado.

Eakins was an uncompromising realist and dedicated teacher.  He painted over 300 portraits, and many of his sitters were friends.  He usually worked at life scale, using the sight-size method he learned from Bonnat.  Eakins had a great interest in the human form, studying the nude and painting athletes such as rowers and boxers.

In 1876, he began teaching at the Pennsylvania Academy and focused on the fundamentals of drawing from the nude.  He was also director of the anatomy program.  Eakins was forced to resign in 1886 because he allowed a class that included both male and female students to draw from a nude model. (Good thing times have changed).  Eakins was passionate about anatomy as his masterpiece The Clinic of Dr. Gross shows.

In 1902 he was made a member of the National Academy.  Among his students were Henry Ossawa Tanner and Thomas Anshutz.

Thomas Eakins - The Chess Players - 1876

Thomas Eakins - The Chess Players - 1876