Champion Single Sculls - Max Schmidt
Eakins depicted his lifelong friend Max Schmitt, now an attorney and champion rower who had won an important race on Philadelphia's Schuylkill River in October 1870. As a sport, rowing was valued for its engagement of mind and body, for the discipline it required, and as a healthful antidote to increasing urban pressures, but it had been portrayed only in prints and illustrations in periodicals. Applying his characteristic narrative restraint to an unprecedented subject for painting, Eakins shows Schmitt pausing during a late-afternoon practice session while he himself rows a scull in the middle distance. Shaping his subtle story from detailed studies of individual elements, Eakins conjures both a particular moment and an iconic modern hero. Thomas Cowperthwait Eakins (July 25, 1844 – June 25, 1916) was an American realist painter, photographer, sculptor, and fine arts educator.