List of illustrations

  • The Agnew Clinic
  • The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Tulp
  • The Agnew Clinic (detail)
  • The Rape
  • The Agnew Clinic (detail)
  • Thumbs Down! (Pollice Verso)
  • The Agnew Clinic (detail)
  • The Gross Clinic
  • Las Meninas
  • The Artist in His Museum
  • Pietà
  • Self-Portrait of the Artist in His Studio
  • The Nightmare
  • Before the Operation: Dr. Péan Explaining the Use of Hemostatic Clamps
  • Man Drawing Reclining Woman
  • The Boit Children
  • The Boit Children (detail)
  • The Boit Children (detail)
  • The Boit Children (detail)
  • Madame Pierre Gautreau
  • Mrs. Edward D. Boit
  • The Hatch Family
  • The Brown Family
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Act of Portrayal: Eakins, Sargent, James
My intention in the following chapters is to take three works of portraiture that originated in the 1880s and show that they were not completed then, nor are they complete now. The book is an attempt to trace not one but numerous paths and byways through these portraits, spreading breadcrumbs and making notches along the way. It is an attempted journey, without predetermined destination; the...
Act of Portrayal: Eakins, Sargent, James
~Why portraiture? Some time ago I found myself wanting to explore three sets of differential oppositions in American art: (1) “masculine” and “feminine” character (nature, sensibility, what have you); (2) “past” and “present” notions concerning the first opposition; and (3) “verbal” and “visual”...

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Act of Portrayal: Eakins, Sargent, James
~The Agnew Clinic (fig. 1) today hangs high on a wall in the foyer of the University of Pennsylvania Medical School. The painting cannot be taken in all at once; approximately six feet high by eleven feet long, it is exceptionally large. What first attracts the eye is the white-clad figure standing in isolation in the foreground, left...

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Act of Portrayal: Eakins, Sargent, James
~When we look at The Boit Children (fig. 16), we see four attractive, healthy, fair-skinned girls posed variously in a sumptuous and elegant interior uncluttered by Victorian bric-a-brac, unpapered, and uncarpeted save for a patterned blue-gray rug on the floor. These girls are clean-scrubbed, well-bred,...

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Act of Portrayal: Eakins, Sargent, James
~Now that we have discussed two portraits painted in the 1880s that revolve around related questions of sexual identity and portrait-making, we shall turn to James’s novelistic portrait of 1881,...

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Act of Portrayal: Eakins, Sargent, James
~A conclusion should be cool, quiet, and colorless, summoning a sterile array of precision tools to complete the operation by stitching up the patient—either the texts considered or the readers—with the neatest, most elegant of sutures. But here there is no conclusion, only inconclusion.

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NOTE: Access to eBook content is currently only available for institutions within the A&AePortal Pilot Program.

Act of Portrayal: Eakins, Sargent, James
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