They are his inspiration.
He is their obsession.
Icon, rebel, unabashed romantic… with a single look painter Thomas Rodin conveys the ecstasy of creativity—the pleasures awaiting the woman who can fuel his artistry.
What did this master artist see in me? Genius abided in his soul, rapture in his flesh—I doubted not. To refuse him…my folly. To surrender…my sensual salvation.
I chafed at the bonds of servitude until he set me free. I turned my back on all that I knew to follow him and found myself between two men—master and student—one whom I loved with my heart...the other with my body.
I understood, perhaps better than any, his needs.
I stoked the fires of his soul, the spark of his creativity— he made me a legend. But never could I forget his searing touch.…
Three transcendent tales of women bewitched by a master of seduction— a slave as much to his art as to his boundless passion.
I have been called many things--reckless, arrogant, perverted, self-absorbed, and, my personal favorite, an artist of the “fleshy school.” Perhaps these allegations are true, I do not deny them, but to those stifled critics of my work, I turned a deaf ear and listened instead to the beat of my heart, the siren song of my passion.
Had I listened to the naysayers of my work, to the critics who sought to box in my genius, my very soul, I daresay I would not have taken up a single brush.
In truth, I believe the critics are correct in their assessment of my incorrigible behavior. Daring to be different was, and is still, the very essence of my creativity. I am nothing if not tenacious in my beliefs, and proud to be so.
These would-be art connoisseurs know nothing of true art. Their view is monocular, dull and lifeless, linear and plain. It does not see the emotion of a woman’s faint blush of arousal, of her cheeks in bloom at seeing her beloved, of her eyes bright and shining in the afterglow of passion. No, to paint such beauty, one must experience it, feel it and grasp it. No classroom, no stack of books can teach these things.
Despite my parent’s wishes, I was not destined to be a religious man. Rather I consider myself a spiritualist, a believer in karma, more so than doctrine.
My passion lies in the tip of my brush, but my inspiration are women. They are my muses. I ask you, what creature in all the earth epitomizes such beauty and grace? Many artists have tried to capture the beauty of this world. Even so, there are few things more persuasive than the delicate color of a woman’s flesh. What could be more inspiring than the soft curve of her shoulder poised to carry the burdens of her world or the pout of her sumptuous mouth determined to carry those burdens with dignity?
Rescued from the mundane existence of their lives, my muses needed no coercion. Fame, independence, appreciation—that is what I gave them in return.
My pulse quickens to think of our conversations, the wine we drank, the free-spirited love we made. I was asked once if I ever loved one more than the other? To that I say, how can a man love only his arm, and not his leg, or his eye, or his mouth? I loved each one for the life she breathed into me, inspiring my work. I could no more hold them to me forever than I could hold a sunbeam.
Reality and art, in many ways, are one. To my moral censors, I ask how could I not fall in love with each of my muses? Each represents a part of my soul. No, to each one I was utterly and completely a devoted slave.
Did they know this? It will not add to my days to know that answer. Life, love—it is what it is. I was both their savior and their sin. I rescued them from the ordinary, redeemed them with the stroke of my brush.
In my quest to capture the perfect image, I may not have been aware of all my muses had to endure. But I offered them new worlds, new adventures. If that makes me a selfish bastard, then I accept my guilt with open arms.
Do I have regrets? What good Italian does? The bad has given me a better appreciation for the good. The good reminds me that while it is welcome, it is also fleeting. I have tasted the cup of life and offer no apologies.
To you, my muses, I raise my evening port. You have fueled my imagination and lust. Without your inspiration, I would not be the man I am. Helen, my innocent, fervent in your private desires. Sara, my socialite, always reaching for more. And Grace, in saving you, I saved myself.
Review: THE MASTER AND THE MUSES is based on the life of Thomas Rodin, the painter. There are three sections in the book. Each section is based on a muse. There is Helen, a young woman working in millinery shop when she’s approached by Thomas’s brother, William. Representing the brotherhood he asks her to be their model and muse. She eventually gives in at great personal cost.
The second section is Sara. Sara wants more out of life. She wants to go places, see things, and experience life. Getting married, settling down and having children isn’t for her. When Thomas meets her at the theatre and offers her a job modeling for him it gives her the opportunity to do what she’s always wanted.
The third and final section belongs to Grace. Grace is one of the few constants through out the book. Grace was Thomas’s muse before Helen had ever been seen by William.
I believed THE MASTER AND THE MUSES would be about Thomas Rodin and the women who inspired him and his art, emphasis on the art and inspiration. Being a Spice book I expected it to be a bit on the erotic side. There was actually very little on art and Thomas as an artist other than his ranting about The Academy and how wrong they were. He actually comes across as selfish, arrogant, quite the boor and not the least charming. Helen struck me as whiny. William was annoying in the way he deferred to Thomas.
The only two characters I liked were Sara and Edward. I think it was because, in my mind, they at least were honest. No deluding themselves or others. They knew what they wanted and set out to get it. Sara’s section, in my opinion, was the best of the book.
Grace was older than Helen and Sara and had been through a lot. I know she was to be a sympathetic character, given her past and what she’d survived. She was the one constant character, with the exception of Thomas, in all three sections. I just flat didn’t like her. I do believe the book ended perfectly though, very fitting. All in all, an average read.
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