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The Oarsmen

Thomas%20Eakins%2C%20%3Cb%3E%3Ci%3E%20The%20Oarsmen%3C%2Fi%3E%3C%2Fb%3E%2C%20ca.%201873%2C%20oil%20on%20canvas%2C%20Bequest%20of%20Mrs.%20Blanche%20Hersey%20Hogue%2C%20public%20domain%2C%2054.19
Thomas Eakins, The Oarsmen, ca. 1873, oil on canvas, Bequest of Mrs. Blanche Hersey Hogue, public domain, 54.19

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Details
Title

The Oarsmen

Artist

Thomas Eakins (American, 1844-1916)

Date

ca. 1873

Medium

oil on canvas

Dimensions (H x W x D)

14 in x 18 in

Inscriptions & Markings

signature: signed

Collection Area

American Art

Category

Paintings

Object Type

painting

Culture

American

Credit Line

Bequest of Mrs. Blanche Hersey Hogue

Accession Number

54.19

Copyright

public domain

Terms

canvas

oil paint

oil paintings

paintings

Location

Belluschi Building

Hirsch Wing

2nd Floor

Anne K. Millis Galleries

Description

In Eakins's time, the sport of rowing was a new and swiftly growing sport in America. As the country became industrialized, public sport became an important institution. The superstars of rowing included men from all classes of society, a fact which Eakins appreciated and celebrated in his art. Committed to pursuing excellence and hard work, he considered the rowers as symbolic of America's egalitarian spirit.

Eakins's attachment to the subject of rowing was enhanced by his own experience as an enthusiastic amateur oarsman. He was especially interested in depicting the physical motions of rowing and convincing perspectives, combining closely observed foreground figures with deep space. For each picture, he prepared painstaking perspective drawings and preliminary sketches, investigating various pictorial challenges. Eakins produced nearly thirty rowing pictures between 1871 and 1874 and introduced the sport as a serious subject for art.

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