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Two men with pale skin, wearing white sleeveless shirts and royal-blue caps, row in unison in a long, narrow boat on a placid blue river in this horizontal landscape painting. The low, honey-colored wooden boat extends off both sides of the canvas. Both men face our left as they row to our right. The man in front looks ahead of him, beyond the stern of the boat, and the man to our right, closer to the bow, tucks his chin down to look past his shoulder. Their bare, muscled arms are extended straight as the two oars sweep back. The tip of another boat runs close and parallel to the bottom edge of the composition, spanning the left three-quarters of the painting. The opposite riverbank is lined with a dense forest of pine-green trees. People crowd along the decks of a steamboat and a paddleboat near the riverbank to our left. Another narrow skuller, rowed by four people wearing ruby-red shirts, cuts through the water at the back center of the river. The riverbank beyond is lined with people, painted with strokes of black and white, and miniscule touches of red. The horizon comes halfway up the composition. Cream-white clouds float across a muted, topaz-blue sky above the trees.

Thomas Eakins, The Biglin Brothers Racing, 1872, oil on canvas, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, 1953.7.1

The Art of Looking

Thomas Eakins, The Biglin Brothers Racing

  • Friday, July 30, 2021
  • 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
  • Registration Required
  • Virtual Program

In honor of the Olympics and other summer sports, Thomas Eakins's The Biglin Brothers Racing is the inspiration for this interactive conversation. Join us and share your observations, interpretations, questions, and ideas, and build on your own first impressions to broaden your understanding of this work of art. This session lasts one hour and is completely interactive. National Gallery educators will facilitate the conversation to create an environment for shared learning. These conversations will encourage you to engage deeply with art, with others, and with the world around you as you hone skills in visual literacy and perspective-taking.

This program is free and open to the public and is designed for anyone interested in talking about art. No art or art history background is required. Ages 18 and over.

Due to the interactive nature of this program, sessions are not recorded.

Live Captions

Live captions (CART) are available in some breakout rooms for this program. Please contact [email protected] to request access or for more information.