Portrait of Maud Cook is a painting created by Thomas Eakins in 1895. Cook, the subject of the portrait, was the sister of Weda Cook who posed for Eakins’ painting The Concert Singer in 1892. The portrait depicts Maud sitting on a chair with a simple and minimalistic background, holding her hands clasped at her lap with an expressionless gaze. Inscribed on the back and carved frame, Eakins gave this painting as a gift to Maud.
The Portrait of Maud Cook is regarded as one of Eakins’ finest works of portraiture due to its stark objectivity. There is no exaggeration or idealization in the painting; instead, it shows a realistic portrayal of its subject matter. This realism adds depth and character to this representation, making it more compelling than an ordinary portrait would be. The lack of shadows deepens her eyes’ set above high cheekbones, drawing attention towards them from where they gaze.
Currently in possession by Yale University Art Gallery’s collection, many art critics have praised Portrait Of Maud Cook’s simplicity yet capturing modality feel that portrays the human psyche through her expressions effortlessly. It has become one example among other portraits that gives insight into how people looked during 19th-century America while accurately conveying their personalities through subtle hints in each artwork element used to attract viewer appreciation and fascination as it glorifies reality without conforming it to something false or unreal.