The Ace of Hearts

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Thomas Benjamin Kennington

1856-1916

The Ace of Hearts

128.3 x 103.5 cms | 50 1/2 x 40 3/4 ins
Oil on canvas

In his painting, The Ace of Hearts, Kennignton captures both beauty and elegance. The viewer stands witness to a magic trick. From the direct look of the young woman, the viewer feels as though he/she must be the one participating in the show. It is only after looking at the mirror on the wall that one sees the sitter is looking straight through the viewer to a gentleman who is scratching his neck and feeling quite off his guard, most likely due to the combination of the mystifying magician's trick along side the sitter's beauty and charm. The Ace of Hearts which she points to with victorious excitement would seem to indicate that she has the correct card which is also the trump card, and in fact she has all the cards in the deck. Amidst the frills and fur a leopard's head sticks out as the original owner of the now decorative throw. It is hard to say whether the expression is one of hostility toward the gentleman, letting him know to keep his distance, as a protector of the young woman, or if the look is one of terror, perhaps reflecting a sense of panic in the man, as the young seductress makes her advances.

- Kara Lysandra Ross