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From Library Journal
Thomas Eakins's (1844-1916) reputation has long since recovered from the ostracism he suffered when he exposed female drawing students at the Philadelphia Academy of Art to nude male models and was forced to quit teaching. In recent years, the rehabilitation of this 19th-century realist painter has continued, with several books and museum retrospectives of his work. Perhaps, then, it was inevitable that the erotic potential of Eakins's working materials-extensive photographic documentation of the bodies of his male models and students-would be seized upon. This sexy but unnecessary book compiles many of his photographs of nude youths, often engaged in such unlikely athletic pursuits as wrestling, boxing, or tugs-of-war while in the buff in some Arcadian setting. Translated onto canvas by Eakins, these beautifully composed images became lyrical and timeless. Few of the final paintings are seen here, however. Lacking the interpretive analysis contained in Kathleen Foster's excellent Thomas Eakins Rediscovered, this thin volume is instead best thought of as Victorian-era eye candy. Libraries seeking insight into Eakins's visual methods would be better served by Foster's book.
Douglas F. Smith, Oakland P.L., CA
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Abstraction gets the most ink whenever modern art is the subject, but surely another vital modernist development was the revival of the male nude. Thomas Eakins (1844-1915), one of America's greatest painters and art teachers, became enthralled with the male nude as a student in Europe and under the influence of the Renaissance masters. He and a fellow student posed nude for one another then, and when he started teaching back in Philadelphia, he regularly had a male student pose. For reference... read more
Often criticized during his lifetime for his insistence on studying and painting the male nude, accomplished draftsman, anatomist, and artist Thomas Eakins (1844-1916) is now acclaimed as one of America's greatest realist painters. Eakins believed in a classical approach to art, and made no compromises with the mores of his time. His insistence on having female students draw from live male nude models caused him to be dismissed from one important teaching post and created a storm of controversy which substantially hurt his career. Only at the end of his life was his work fully recognized as equal to that of some of the great European old masters. Taken from collections across the globe, this book features a stunning collection of drawings, paintings, and photographs of Eakins's male nudes, which showcase the artist's immense and still influential skill in rendering the male form. A major Eakins retrospective will be at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in the spring of 2002.