Salvidor Dali’s ‘The Persistence of Memory’ (detail)
Traveling back in time to rescue lost art, interact with artists, and be a fly on the wall in the fifteenth-century has been the premise of most of my books starring Leonardo da Vinci, Sandro Botticelli, the two ‘Mona Lisas.’ The fantasy of time travel is the only place to meet them.
When a painting goes AWOL it leaves a gaping hole in an artist’s career and sets up an obsessive lure for treasure hunters. Art collectors program peripheral vision and x-ray vision to scan for sightings and clues.
Paintings have been moved underground for their own safety and been abducted for ransom. War trophies have been confiscated. Paintings and sculptures have been moved like chess pieces, hoarded, coveted, stolen, celebrated, and… lost. Paintings sold to the highest bidders are ferretted away from public access, but the worst offence is art which has been destroyed by accident or sabotage.
Each painting represents an entire species; its demise is an extinction. Hearsay and copies and sometimes hazy photographs can only tempt and frustrate the lovers of art. No wonder I play what-if with time. Naturally, lost art is a mystery to solve but it’s much more. It’s missing DNA in an artist’s life. Burned love letters are a testament to intimate relationships. Time abounds with keys without locks, memories without paper, frames without paintings. And time knows where these things are.
Time knows the whereabouts of the ‘Nike of Samothrace’s’ head, and the ‘Venus de Milo’s’ arms, and the lower panel of Leonardo’s ‘Ginevra de Benci.’ Time knows the colors of the ‘Last Supper,’ and who really posed for the ‘Mona Lisa.’ Time knows what was said while the vanity fires in Florence were stoked with Botticelli’s paintings in 1497, and who spirited his other works to safety, and where Leonardo was buried.
Time has misplaced Leonardo’s and Mozart’s bones, and the love letters of Jane Austen and Dickens, and the psychic conversations between artists and their muses.
But what if paintings absorbed such conversations? What if art recorded events? What if we could send someone or some device back in time to capture the profound beginnings and endings of lost works? What if an android could bring a destroyed work back to the present world?
Once a painting is destroyed it no longer has a physical presence to influence history. Only an ethical time traveler could wind back to its final moments and retrieve it without destroying the timeline in a world that keeps ticking in chronological time.
Cherry White is such an android.
In life, she was Delphi Sharpe, a child savant with the psychic ability to read paintings through touch.
In death, her body was frozen in stasis for fifty years.
In time, history is opened like a pocket watch. After the logistics of molecular time travel is discovered, Delphi’s brain is implanted into a hybrid android, Cherry White, designed to cherry-pick destroyed artifacts of the past.
Cherry White must safely navigate time as well as survive the greed of a crooked art syndicate and deliver payback to the institution that considers her a machine.
But what if Delphi’s death was no accident? There are secrets to unfold and love stories to tell, and great distances to travel as greater discoveries of the origins of art, the artists muse, and the anthropology of the human race is revealed.
What if an UNTIMELY death is a passport to the rebirth of lost art? What if it takes two lives to make one woman? What if two women learn a life unloved is a life unlived?
A savant’s mind, a psychic’s hands, and a child’s lost soul leads to supernatural discoveries about the evolution of emotion. Paintings will speak, the world will regain a few of its priceless art treasures and sometimes time reveals where they have come to rest.
‘Cherry White’ is in post-production and will be published in May, 2015. To be notified of the exact launch date, please join this blog.
V KNOX/VERONICA KNOX TIME TRAVEL NOVELS
*available directly on Amazon, or linked through the author’s book store on this website. Please read excerpts on my book page, above.
‘Second Lisa’ a trilogy fantasy of the lost life of the ‘Mona Lisa’ lured from her painting in the Louvre by an autistic boy and his mother. Themes of reincarnation and time travel during bouts of lucid dreaming reveal lost loves, missing paintings, and the irony of an anonymous woman being the most famous face in the world.
‘Adoration – loving Botticelli’ is a paranormal romance. A retired art history professor continues a love affair with a figure in a painting, begun when she was an art student, after she revisits the Uffizi gallery on a final pilgrimage to her ghostly lover.
‘The Hourglass of Time’ by author Veronica Knox
For middle-grade readers (age 10-12) with an advanced vocabulary:
‘Twinter – the first portal’ is a time-slip fantasy. Ghosts, time-travel, a dozen terrible secrets, and a curse of snow takes a pair of psychic twins on an adventure in ancient Egypt and into the future where the safety of earth’s ecosystem lies in their hands.