Thomas Eakins (American, 1844-1916)

Eakins was known for his skill at portraying the human figure. Born in Philadelphia, he attended the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and engaged in anatomy lectures at Jefferson Medical College. This interest allowed Eakins to learn how the human body functioned and accurately depict it. Following his education in the US, the artist traveled to Paris to study at the École des Beaux-Arts under Jean-Léon Gérôme.

Many of Eakin’s most famous works were centered around the idea of human movement and often displayed the human body in dynamic positions. These included athletic figures such as boxers, as well as women and children in interior scenes. He usually used friends and family as models for his work which skirted between genre painting and portraiture. He began teaching at the Pennsylvania Academy in 1876, but his insistence of instruction from nude figures prompted him to resign at the request of the board. At the end of his career, he focused almost solely on portraiture drawn from life.