Eakins was an oarsman himself, and when he returned from his studies in Paris in 1870 he began a series of paintings on the modern sport of rowing. In 1872, he befriended the celebrated John and Bernard (Barney) Biglin when they came to Philadelphia to compete for the world championship of pair-oared shells. Eakins painted them repeatedly over the next two years. Here, the brothers are shown practicing on the Schuylkill River in the early evening, in the shadow of the old Columbia Railroad Bridge.
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