Art and Moral Taint

It was reported yesterday that the Tate gallery has decided to remove prints created by the artist Graham Ovenden following his conviction for child sex offences (on Tuesday 2nd April). Ovenden’s conviction itself raises difficult moral questions which I shall not address here. Ovenden is (or at least was) a celebrated portrait artist; he admitted to taking pictures of and painting nude children in the course of creating his portraiture, claiming that, in doing so, he was aiming to capture children in what he termed their “state of grace”.  Although he vigorously denied allegations of paedophilia over the course of the trial, Ovenden was found guilty of six counts of indecency and one count of indecent assault.

There may well be room for debate about whether Ovenden is

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