Thomas Eakins, American, 1844 - 1916
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This painting of the Crucifixion, Eakins's only religious work, demonstrates the artist's interest in rendering the human body realistically. Jesus's sagging torso, bent knees, stretched arms, and clenched hands all suggest an actual male body hanging from a cross in the agony of his last moments. To understand the human anatomy in this position, Eakins strapped a model, one of his students, to a cross.
Eakins spent most of his life in Philadelphia, but trained in a Paris studio where the study of the nude was considered an essential basis for painting.
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