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Narrated by Stage and Screen star Blythe Danner, this video features stills of Eakins' works as well as live reenactments of his paintings and photographs. It is punctuated by contemporary footage of the scenery displayed in his body of work. Tremendous insight into the work and character of this American original is derived by interviews with curators and conservators of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, as well as scholars from many universities who share their extensive study of Eakins with the audience.
WHYY Producer Glenn Holsten follows Eakins' travels with HDTV (High Definition TV) equipment to Paris, France; Seville, Spain; North Dakota; and throughout Philadelphia to explore and film the places where Eakins found inspiration. Fascinated by the rapidly changing world, especially in Philadelphia, Eakins recorded the morphing of the times in which he lived. HDTV equipment captures every nuanced brush stroke in Eakins' work that enhances this VHS video version.
This video release coincides with the first major retrospective to be devoted to the artist in 20 years. The exhibit "Thomas Eakins: American Realist," and the one-hour documentary survey the artist's full range of achievements in painting, photography, sculpture and drawing. The exhibit is presently at the Philadelphia Museum of Art with additional stops in 2002 at the Musee d'Orsay in Paris and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.