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Eakins's Students at the "The Swimming Hole"
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Thomas Eakins
American, Pennsylvania, 1884
Albumen print
3 11/16 x 4 13/16 in.
84.XM.811.1

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Thomas Eakins stands slightly apart at the left, the master and teacher observing his frolicking students at Mill Creek near Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. Eakins used this photograph, one of a series of studies featuring nude boys playing at a variety of outdoor sports, to develop his painting The Swimming Hole , originally titled Swimming . Seeking to associate the youths with the classical Greek ideals of physical beauty, strength, and camaraderie, he posed them in a dynamic arrangement in and out of the water, representing them as types rather than individuals. All of the young men are shown either in profile or from behind, further obscuring their individual characters and identities.