Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Center Of The World-Thomas Van Essen

The Center Of The World

Thomas Van Essen

Other, Jun 4 2013, $15.95

ISBN: 9781590515495

In 1857 art critic John Ruskin rips painter J.M.W. Turner for his vile erotic work. Whereas the critic calls the Center of the World portrait a Jezebel, Turner thinks of her as Helen of Troy though both agree he will end up in hell. Turner thinks back over twenty years ago when he discussed his work at a dinner party his patron Lord Egremont hosted. In 1837, the late Lord Egremont’s son called The Center Of The World “infamous” and claiming it no longer existed.

Contemporary art dealer Arthur Bryce seeks what most people today believe is a masterpiece. The work surfaced in the early twentieth century when affluent American Cornelius Rhinebeck brought Helen from England to his Adirondack lodge. Years later Henry Leiden finds it by accident while closing his late father’s estate.

Based on Turner’s erotic drawings, The Center of the World is a terrific refreshing look at how art impacts people and people impact art with the boundaries of acceptable tastes as to what is pornography changing between generations. Using an imaginary portrait, Thomas Van Essen provides a thought provoking tale of how important and influential art is to society.

Harriet Klausner

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