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Thomas Eakins, Affection For Realism Essay

770 words - 4 pages

Going against the crowd challenges perceptions and allows people to be innovative. The ability to create and change people’s perceptions can come with the price of being an outcaste and ostracized if society disapproves. Once rejected by society for his controversial and scandalous artistic styles, today Thomas Eakins is recognized as one of America’s greatest painters for his collective body of work. His body of work combined perception, strength, character, and commitment to achieve realism. Through his paintings and photography Thomas’s interests devoured most of his time as he thoroughly studied the anatomy and muscles of the human body. Thomas Eakins love affection for realism and immense beauty found within anatomy encouraged him to pursue perfection as he mastered drawing a flawless human body; by paying attention to every detail in his paintings: The Gross Clinic and The Agnew Clinic.
Today society proclaims Thomas Eakins as the founder of American Realism during the nineteenth century but throughout his lifetime critics considered his artwork to be controversial. Throughout his entire career, his approval ratings were low and he sold very few artworks. His disapproval rating from the public’s eye only increased with his scandalous teaching styles, that forced his students to model naked for each other. Yet, through all the controversy surrounding Eakins he stayed true to his passion. Thomas Eakins captured the true depictions of the people he painted even if it is not what they wished to see, while most portrait artists made changes to reality, he always painted the truth about the human body. Many disliked how stubborn Thomas was with his unwillingness to change.
Accurate proportions were vital in Thomas Eakins mind, and he spent years of his life trying to master the perfect body to achieve realism. The realism he achieved disappointed his clients because, they did not want their imperfections to be portrayed eternally. He had an obsession with science and the anatomy of the nude human body. To better his understanding of these concepts he studied at Jefferson Medical College. Here he was able to dissect human bodies and observe scientific operations. (Goodrich). When photography became a popular form of art, Thomas used the medium as a tool for observation. He then used his...

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