Joseph Heller: Picture This

4 April 2015
This paper reviews the novel “Picture This” by Joseph Heller, American novelist and dramatist.

The author describes “Picture This” as a work of fiction about Rembrandt’s painting Aristotle Contemplating the Bust of Homer, which was sold to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1961. The author considers the book to be more than a pure novel, as Heller takes the reader through history from Plato to Rembrandt and through the history of the painting itself. The review states that Heller in Picture This has written one-liners for comic effect that sometimes appear to be incoherent.
However, scattered through the book, the writer has given a good deal of material about the canvas painting itself: the model who posed for Aristotle, the circumstances of its creation, the bust of Homer, the commission that directed to this picture and much more. Furthermore, its lineage, which is the list of people who consecutively owned it as it made its way from Amsterdam to Sicily to England to the Metropolitan, has also been discussed.

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However, the book overall is more or less directly about the painting.

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