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The Revenge of Thomas Eakins
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The Revenge of Thomas Eakins

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  41 Ratings  ·  6 Reviews
Thomas Eakins was misunderstood in life, his brilliant work earned little acclaim, and hidden demons tortured and drove him. Yet the portraits he painted more than a century ago captivate us today, and he is now widely acclaimed as the finest portrait painter our nation has ever produced. This book recounts the artist’s life in fascinating detail, drawing on a treasure tro ...more
Hardcover, 576 pages
Published March 28th 2006 by Yale University Press (first published March 1st 2006)
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Oct 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography, artists
When I picked up this very well done bio the little I knew about Eakins was the wonderful scull portraits, the shad fishing pictures and that a vague scandal surrounded his name. Now having read almost 500 pages, I want to know even more and I know that there is a lot more to know.

Kirkpatrick covers the whole life, giving balance to each stage. It is a full book. There is no "filler". The research and background knowledge of the author shine forth on every page. The author shows great restraint
Eakins is an artist I had, at best, vaguely heard of. This biography not only narrates his difficult life very well, it also shows how the conflicts that marked his career (by his later years he was basically blacklisted by the American art establishment) were largely the product of narrowing conceptions of morality in the United States (he was a passionate proponent of the nude as the foundation of art training and practice, something that other Americans insisted on seeing as narrowly and dang ...more
Jun 01, 2011 rated it liked it
I volunteer at an art museum & someone recommended this, about an artist whose work we have in the collection. He was unconventional in life & in his work, both as an artist & art teacher in Philadelphia. He eschewed the traditional methods of teaching art & made students study anatomy, cadavers, pose nude for each other. This was during Victorian times so extremely scandalous then. His beloved father taught penmanship & that is where Thomas got hs start. He also considered b ...more
Jun 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
I don't have compelling reasons to study his life however I admire his paintings. This reading is a quick-scan only.

Thomas Eakins' paintings are accessible due to their photo-realism. But his portraitures depicting more of the inner lives of the persons instead of the decorous interior, clothing and implied status. This book is an essential biography of this painter and the people around him.
Mar 15, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone, Philadelphians especially
Recommended to Roberta by: got a review copy at Philly Weekly
Not only for Philadelphians, but because it's crammed full of 19th Century Philadelphia history, it's especially for Philadelphians. Kirkpatrick tries to get into Eakins' head and makes the case for the troubled genius as perhaps America's best artist (of that age of course)...of any age (my thought).
Feb 17, 2007 rated it it was amazing
A good story.
rated it liked it
Jan 08, 2015
Margaret Steadman
rated it it was ok
May 14, 2016
Ramon de Santiago
rated it it was amazing
Aug 24, 2014
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Jul 17, 2012
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Books and book publishing have long been an important part of life in the Kirkpatrick family. My grandfather and namesake was a senior editor at McGraw-Hill for thirty-five years. My mother, Audrey Kirkpatrick, was a short story writer, and studied under Vladimir Nabokov at Cornell University. Katherine Kirkpatrick, my younger sister, is a former book editor at Macmillan and the author of five his ...more
More about Sidney D. Kirkpatrick...