A Drawing Manual by Thomas Eakins

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While a teacher at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, the celebrated American artist Thomas Eakins (1844–1916) prepared a drawing manual for his students. The manuscript developed out of his famous lectures at the Academy on linear perspective, mechanical drawing, reflections, and sculptural relief and included illustrations by the artist. Following his forced resignation from the Academy in 1886, Eakins abandoned plans to publish the manual, and the parts were dispersed. Today, drafts of the manuscript reside at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and at the Academy, which also holds many of the illustrations.
A Drawing Manual brings together Eakins’s text, based on a concordance of the drafts, and his original drawings for the project. This remarkable publication reveals Eakins’s personality and teaching philosophy, demonstrating why the artist was renowned as a plainspoken, effective teacher. In her fascinating introduction, Kathleen A. Foster sketches the background of the manuscript in the artist’s life and the story of the publication project. Amy B. Werbel provides an illuminating essay on Eakins’s place in the tradition of perspective drawing.
This book is essential for any student, scholar, curator, or individual interested in American art and art education.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300108477
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 3/11/2005
  • Series: Primary Sources in American Art Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 128
  • Product dimensions: 6.80 (w) x 9.72 (h) x 0.61 (d)

Meet the Author

Kathleen A. Foster is the Robert L. McNeil, Jr., Curator of American Art and Director of the Center for American Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. She has published extensively on Eakins, including Thomas Eakins Rediscovered (Yale University Press). Amy B. Werbel is Associate Professor of Fine Arts at Saint Michael’s College, Vermont.

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Table of Contents

The tools of art : the drawing manual of Thomas Eakins 8
Thomas Eakins : last of the art crusaders 27
A drawing manual
Ch. I Linear perspective : tracing on a window pane 47
Ch. II Linear perspective : picture plane established 51
Ch. III Linear perspective : theory of vanishing points 55
Ch. IV Mechanical drawing 69
Ch. V Isometric drawing 77
Ch. VI Reflections in water 81
Ch. VII Sculptured relief 89
App Notes on the construction of a camera 101
App Notes on the differential action of certain muscles passing more than one joint 109
App Refraction 115
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 8, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    The Credentials of Thomas Eakins as a Draughtsman

    Just when you thought you knew all the ins and outs of the life of one of America's greatest artists, Thomas Eakins, even through attending one of the many fine museum exhibitions of his work that seem to be always in circulation, up pops this publication brought out some five years ago - a first publication of Eakins' 'textbook' on drawing, based on his lectures at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts. In the well written introductory comments curator and editor Kathleen A. Foster -with tongue in cheek - shares the fact that Eakins rarely spent time with pencil in hand, preferring to guide his students to the brush as soon as possible. In an essay by Amy B. Werbel we learn that Thomas Eakins was a devoted teacher and had planned to publish all of his lectures and notes and attendant scribbles at some point in his life, but when the scandalous dismissal of Eakins from the Academy occurred, the promised manuscripts were tucked away privately. But thanks to Yale University Press and the Pennsylvania Academy of Art we now have access to the artist's fine techniques of perspective drawing. The drawing manual offers student artists a unique opportunity to meet Eakins as instructor, to get a feel for his personality and teaching philosophy, and understand why he was renowned as an effective teacher. According to Amy Foster "The first five chapters are the most detailed and complete, and the most thoroughly illustrated, carrying the student through the principles and methods of three drawing systems: linear perspective, mechanical drawing and isometric drawing." This then is indeed a find for all art students and art lovers, especially those who appreciated representational art. Grady Harp

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