Jan 11, 2007

Photographs of a Standing Male Nude Model ("Joseph Smith")

Naked Series

Photographs of a Standing Male Nude Model ("Joseph Smith")

c. 1883

circle of Thomas Eakins

(American, 1844–1916)

Albumen prints from glass negatives

Image: 8.2 x 2.9 cm (3 1/4 x 1 1/8 in.); Matted: 35.6 x 45.7 cm (14 x 18 in.)

John L. Severance Fund 1997.131



Eakins’s earliest use of photography was as a visual aid to painting. In the early 1880s, he began photographic experiments that would allow him to create a more accurate and convincing rendering of anatomy and the human form in motion. Recognizing the assistance these visual reminders could provide the artist, Eakins and his circle began photographing a series of nude forms modeled by men, women, and children. These images, which he called the Naked Series, consist of seven contact-printed photographs mounted on cardboard strips. They show the models from the front, side, and rear posed in contrapposto positions or with their weight equally distributed. Eakins’s other photographic endeavors included a series on the figure in motion—photographs that were clearly used as studies for paintings—and more traditional portraits and figural groupings.

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