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Wilkie's fascination for Titian led him to commission Auerbach to execute a number of works inspired by the Renaissance master. Six of Wilkie's Auerbachs came about as the result of such commissions. The first commission, in 1965, was for Auerbach to paint a version of Titian's 'Tarquin and Lucretia', a painting which had deeply moved Wilkie when he saw it in an exhibition at the Tate Gallery in 1959. Of that memorable experience Wilkie later said 'for a fraction of a second it seemed that the room was on fire'. Auerbach painted two works related to the Titian: this painting and the companion piece 'Study after Titian II' shown nearby.

September 2004