Saturday, September 13, 2008

Thomas Eakins

Between Rounds, 1898-99, oil on canvas, 50.25 in x 40 in
Philadelphia Art Museum

The inherent drama of boxing has appealed to artists and writers from the first recorded bout – in Homer’s “Iliad.” The paintings of Philadelphia’s Thomas Eakins, an avid outdoorsman and sportsman, captured the grace of several of the day’s popular contests, including this gripping 1899 depiction. Eakins based this painting on a sketch he made of “Turkey Point” Billy Smith, a journeyman professional fighter he watched box at the Arena Athletic Club on North Broad Street the night of April 22, 1898.

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