Friday, December 15, 2006

Eakins Agnew Clinic Composition

Originally uploaded by Charles Hankin.
The Agnew Clinic by Thomas Eakins is really two paintings in one. The operation can be seen as the primary subject, with all the light while the student body is separate. The painting was commissioned by Dr. Agnews students whom appear in the background. They are portraits with individual gestures and expressions. Eakins saved a space for himself as an observer. The ellipse of the operating well defines the space of the painting with the breast at the center. Unlike The Gross Clinic the patient's face is visible to the viewer. All the rest of the figures radiate around this point. The change in operating procedures is apparent with the dress of the physicians. The background is relatively flat almost modern in today's art aesthetic.

In the WHYY blog, The Sixth Square, there is a discussion of the Eakins meaning to Philadelphia.


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