Self-Portrait (1902) by Thomas Eakins

Self-Portrait - Thomas Eakins - c.1902

Artwork Information

ArtistThomas Eakins
MediumOil on Canvas
Dimensions30 x 25 inches
Art MovementRealism
Current LocationNational Academy of Design, New York

About Self-Portrait

The artwork entitled “Self-Portrait” was created by the artist Thomas Eakins around the year 1902. This oil on canvas piece, measuring 30 x 25 inches, exemplifies the Realism art movement. As its genre suggests, it depicts the artist himself, revealing a personal and introspective glimpse into his being. The self-portrait is part of the collection at the National Academy of Design, located in New York.

The artwork presents a man appearing to gaze directly at the viewer with a visage that exudes a sense of thoughtfulness or introspection. The brushwork is confident, with robust strokes evident in the depiction of the individual’s facial features, clothing, and the surrounding space. This lends a textural depth to the piece that is characteristic of Eakins’ style. The palette consists primarily of earthy tones, with an interplay of light and shadow that highlights the contours of the face and the expression, suggesting a candid reveal of the artist’s character.

The artist’s face is the central focus, set against a darker, indistinct background, which draws attention to the visage and upper body of the figure, his representation unfettered by elaborate adornments or distractions. It would seem Eakins aimed to capture something honest and direct, a hallmark of Realist art, which aimed to show subjects in a truthful manner, devoid of embellishment. The play of light accentuates the defining features of the subject, further contributing to the authenticity and raw nature of his expression. The solemnity of his gaze and the nuanced portrayal of his features might be perceived as an invitation to the viewer to engage with the artist’s contemplative state.

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