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Artist: Frank Auerbach
[British painter, born 1931]

Title: Small Head of E.O.W.

Date: 1957-58
Medium: oil on board
Dimensions: 12 x 8.5 in. (30.5 x 21.6 cm)
Location: Tate Gallery Online

Image size: n/a
1.  Open in a
new window
Frank Auerbach: Small Head of E.O.W.

2.  Open in a 'chromeless' window
Sometimes a "masterscan" isn't just about size. This Flash-based exhibit is brilliantly simple in concept: just move your mouse around the painting on the screen, and you can change the direction of the light source. Oh, and don't forget to click on the magnifying glass to zoom in.

Auerbach is known for his thick, tactile use of paint, and the two paintings on view here benefit greatly from this kind of treatment.

This is an ingenious demonstration of how the web can overcome the limitations of a 2-D computer screen. I strongly recommend you try this out and to notice how each slight change of light produces shifts in the color, the shadows, and the texture. Even the glare on the painting comes into the forground, instead of being mentally edited out.

Congratulations to the Tate for this important exhibit that may make you rethink the way you look at photographs of great art.

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