Thursday, November 30, 2006

Thomas Eakins "The Gross Clinic" Realism

Realism was the prime reason for Thomas Eakins painting. He was a man of his time. Much is made of the conflicts that he faced. They all stem from the shock of the new ideas that were developing in his lifetime.

The following from WSU web site helps to put this into context.

Realism in American Literature, 1860-1890

"Broadly defined as "the faithful representation of reality" or "verisimilitude," realism is a literary technique practiced by many schools of writing. Although strictly speaking, realism is a technique, it also denotes a particular kind of subject matter, especially the representation of middle-class life. A reaction against romanticism, an interest in scientific method, the systematizing of the study of documentary history, and the influence of rational philosophy all affected the rise of realism."

Thomas Eakins was to painting what the realist authors were to writing.

The reason I respect his art and feel strongly about keeping "The Gross Clinic" in Philadelphia is that the truth of the painting holds high the values that I have. The same values that many Philadelphia realists share today.

How to Give
The public can help by giving to the Fund for Eakins’ Masterpiece, established to raise the money to match the sale price of $68 million. Make a tax deductible contribution online at, or mail a check made payable to Fund for Eakins’ Masterpiece and send it to Fund for Eakins’ Masterpiece, c/o Philadelphia Museum of Art, P.O. Box 7646, Philadelphia, PA 19130-7646. The Fund for Eakins’ Masterpiece HOTLINE is reachable by calling 215-684-7762.


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