Thomas Eakins was a famous (and to some, infamous) director of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts in the 19th century. It is possible that he was a bit of a "dirty old man," but that is hard to be certain about. What is certain is that his frank depictions of "natural" nudity offended Victorian standards of the day; he was eventually dismissed by the Academy, to their great loss. In addition to the sonnet, I am adding a copy of a letter Eakins sent to a committee at the Academy in 1876 regarding obtaining "better" female models for the Life Classes. Thanks to Al Gury for providing a photo-copy of the letter!