“Taking the Count”, from 1896 — one of several very cool Eakins works depicting “the ring”.

Eakins had a decidedly non-Romantic attitude towards his subjects, which attracted a lot of criticism from the art establishment of his day.  As a teacher at the Pennsylvania Academy Of the Fine Arts he preferred to have his students draw from nude models rather than from plaster casts and was ultimately fired for removing the loincloth from a male model while female students were present.  This contrarian strain has given him a bona fides with modern critics — he's one of the few Victorian academic painters it is fashionable to admire.


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