"Rather than imagining Eakins's canvases as rarefied, high-art objects- divorced from the concerns of Gilded Age society- I understand them as participants in a cultural discourse of masculinity.

Paintings by Thomas Eakins

Bound into a web of social relations, the paintings do not merely reflect cultural concerns, but are engaged in legitimizing and forming conceptions of Victorian manhood."

from Berger, Man Made: Thomas Eakins and the construction of Gilded Age Manhood

Artists, like Thomas Eakins,
put forth their own ideas about male and female spaces. Decent men and women were rarely portrayed together, unless they were married, and scenes, like the ones on this page, became common in art and magazines. These images played an important role in the construction of gender roles and gendered spaces.

However these images impacted men and women in very different ways. For the most part, the spaces open to men increased and the spaces open to women decreased. Women were almost always depicted in idyllic scenes in the home or in nature.

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