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Looking at this imposing picture, complete with reflections in the glasses and eyes, you might be forgiven for assuming that it is a photograph.

It's not. It's a painting, "Keith", by Chuck Close.

It's one of the more striking art works to be found on the third floor of the St. Louis Art Museum, even accounting for a good number of other forceful works found there. Because it is one of the few modern artworks there that is highly representational, visitors tend to gather around it. Many who choose not read the descriptive text assume it is an enlarged photograph, an entirely understandable misconception.

But, one you are aware that it is a painting, you go back and study it minutely looking for any hint of brush strokes or any other tangible sign of paintwork. You don't find any. The image was created with extreme meticulousness using an air brush using a photograph as a guide.

This is a fascinating concept and one that always me think again about the nature of reproduction, of mechanical vs. manual processes, and the similarities and differences between photography and painting as manipulators of light. No doubt as the artist intended.

Here is the painting as seen from the adjacent gallery. The figure is looking upwards, but my photograph inadvertently caught a hand on the female viewer's behind. A distraction. ๐Ÿ™‚