Man Made: Thomas Eakins and the Construction of Gilded Age Manhood

2000
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Often censured during his lifetime for his insistence on studying and painting from the nude, Thomas Eakins (1844-1916) is now acclaimed as one of America's greatest realist painters. Man Made examines Eakins's art and life, illustrating how the artist used his canvases to cope with the complex requirements of Victorian gender. Martin Berger reads a series of Eakins's paintings, ranging from early to late works, giving a nuanced and elegant examination of Eakins's portrayal of white, middle-class manhood. This provocative cultural art history treats these paintings in terms of what they reveal about Eakins's own identity as well as the nation's changing ideals of manhood during the final years of the nineteenth century.