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18-02-2007
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Here is the Muse
Here is the muse - source News Scotsman UK.com


ALICE WYLLIE
THEY say that behind every successful man is a woman. It might also be said that behind every successful artist is a muse. It was in 1965 that artist Andy Warhol met his muse, the 22-year-old heiress Edie Sedgwick, whose life is profiled in Factory Girl - starring Sienna Miller - which opens in the UK next month.
The strikingly beautiful model captivated the artist and quickly became his constant companion. As well as inspiring Warhol's work, she was the inspiration for Lou Reed's Femme Fatale and it has been suggested that she sparked much of Bob Dylan's Blonde on Blonde.

Sedgwick is just one of a legion of women who have inspired some of the world's greatest artists, writers and musicians. The poet Robert Graves described the artist's muse as "a woman in whom the goddess is to some degree resident". This is an appropriate description considering the classical origins of the role. In ancient Greece, the nine Muses were goddesses of the arts who provided inspiration for artists, sculptors and writers. They represented the manifestation of the perfect woman, of unobtainable love and dreamy, inspirational beauty.
"The artist's muse will often be a young, beautiful woman," says Richard Thomson, the Watson Gordon Professor of Fine Art at Edinburgh University. "This is partly down to the fact that the artist might be looking to beauty to create a beautiful work of art, and partly down to libido. The muse will often be unobtainable. Artists often feel they cannot obtain true beauty in their work, and the pursuit of an unobtainable beautiful woman parallels that work."
The company of a beautiful muse has inspired men across the arts. Zelda Fitzgerald, wife of writer F Scott Fitzgerald, is said to have been the real-life model for golden girl Daisy Buchanan in The Great Gatsby, while Marianne Faithfull was muse to rocker Mick Jagger. And Alma Mahler was muse to composer Gustav Mahler, the architect Walter Gropius and artist Gustav Klimt, with whom she shared her first kiss.
A muse is used regularly by many well-known male artists. However, there are few instances where female artists have turned men into muses. The few examples include Charlotte Brontë's unrequited yearning for the married Monsieur Constantin Heger, her tutor, who became the model for Mr Rochester in Jane Eyre and for Paul Emmanuel in Villette, and Emily Dickinson's passion for her unidentified "Master" to whom she addressed some of her most fevered poems.
In her book The Lives of the Muses: Nine Women and the Artists They Inspired, Francine Prose writes: "Artists rarely create for the muse, to win or keep the muse's love and admiration, but rather for themselves , for the world, and for the more inchoate and unquantifiable imperatives of art itself. Muses are merely the instruments that raise the emotional and erotic temperature high enough, churn up the weather in a way that may speed and facilitate the artist's labours.''
These women have sparked incredible works of art, literature and music. We've picked five such women, to examine their lives, the men who loved them and the work they inspired.
SIMONETTA CATTANEO

LEONARDO sketched her. Lorenzo de Medici threw lavish banquets in her honour. Pulci and Poliziano composed great poems for her and young men fell in love with her on the spot. One of those young men was painter Sandro Botticelli for whom the striking Simonetta Cattaneo personified beauty and goodness. Proud of her beauty, she once announced to Botticelli: "I will be your lady Venus. You shall paint me rising from the waves."
And so he did. Cattaneo married nobleman Marco Vespucci, at the tender age of 15, and upon arriving in Florence after her marriage, she was discovered by Botticelli, who immortalised her in Pallas and the Centuar, Mars and Venus and Primavera and The Birth of Venus among others.
While there are suggestions that Cattaneo was Botticelli's mistress (in nearly all his paintings of her she appears almost completely nude) her prominent social standing and his social difficulties with women make this unlikely. Cattaneo died aged 22, but Botticelli continued to use her likeness in his work, completing The Birth of Venus in 1485, nine years after her death. In 1510, while on his deathbed, he asked to be buried at her feet.
BEATRICE PORTINARI

THE Florentine poet Dante Alighieri met his muse, Beatrice Portinari, in Florence in 1274, when he was nine years old and she was eight, and he fell in love with her immediately. However, they didn't meet again until nine years later, when one afternoon Alighieri encountered Beatrice walking down a street in Florence. When she greeted him, he was filled with such joy that he retreated to his room, fell asleep thinking of her, and had a dream that became the subject of the first sonnet in La Vita Nuova.
This second meeting was to be their last, yet Alighieri remained obsessed with her throughout his life after she died at the age of 24. After her death, Alighieri withdrew into intense study, and began composing poems dedicated to her memory. It was the collection of these poems, along with others he had previously written in his journal in awe of Beatrice, that became La Vita Nuova.
He wrote: "She has ineffable courtesy, is my beautitude, the destroyer of all vices and the queen of virtue, salvation." However, since their relationship had no contact, the Beatrice of his works was shaped entirely by his mind. He once called her "La gloriosa donna della mia mente": "the glorious lady of my mind".
As well as being the principal inspiration for La Vita Nuova, Beatrice also appears in The Divine Comedy: Paradise and in the last four cantos of Purgatory.
DORA MAAR

PICASSO met French photographer and painter Dora Maar in Paris in 1936, when she was 28 and he was 54. He was attracted to her dark eyes and jet-black hair, as well as the fact she spoke fluent Spanish. Their stormy relationship lasted nearly nine years, during which Picasso made many sketches, watercolours and paintings of her, as a bird or a sphinx as well as a human and, most famously, in the 1937 painting Weeping Woman.
Picasso called Maar his "private muse", and for him she was the weeping woman in many ways. She suffered from his moods during their affair and she was jealous of Picasso's wife, Olga, and mistress, Marie-Thérèse Walter, who had given Picasso a daughter. This was compounded when Maar discovered she was infertile. Picasso once said the anguished nature of his Dora portraits was beyond his control: "For years I've painted her in tortured forms, obeying a vision that forced itself on me."
Maar kept Picasso's paintings of her until her death in 1997 and, in 2006, one of his portraits, Dora Maar au Chat, was auctioned at Sotheby's for £48.8 million, making it the world's second-most expensive painting ever sold at auction.
PATTIE BOYD

A SUPERMODEL and photographer, Boyd became the inspiration for some of the greatest love songs of the past 40 years. After meeting on the set of A Hard Day's Night, she married George Harrison in 1966, during the Beatles' heyday. She was the inspiration for one of Harrison's most famous Beatles songs, Something, which was called "the greatest love song ever written" by Frank Sinatra.
During their marriage, Harrison's friend Eric Clapton also fell in love with Boyd. His unrequited love for her consumed him, and his tortured passion for his friend's wife produced one of his most famous songs, Layla. His desire for her drove him to a heroin addiction, but she eventually divorced Harrison in 1977, and married Clapton in 1979.
However, despite the outward image of the perfect couple, years of affairs, violence and alcoholism on his part forced Boyd to divorce him in 1988.
John Lennon and Mick Jagger confessed to having had crushes on Boyd, with the latter admitting that he'd tried and failed to seduce her for years.
She also had an affair with Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood in 1973, as her marriage to Harrison was ending, but left him heartbroken, influencing the song Breathe on Me.
STELLA CARTWRIGHT

IN HIS autobiography, For the Islands I Sing, Orcadian poet George Mackay Brown writes: "Some modern poets have their muse, a woman who transfigures their work and guides them like a star, stella maris. This girl was actually called Stella."
George Mackay Brown met Stella Cartwright during his time as an undergraduate in Edinburgh when he was 35 and she was 20. Tall, buxom and beautiful, with blue eyes and a mass of hair, those who knew her have compared her classical beauty to a creation by Rubens or Botticelli, and one admirer said that "she seemed built for love". Mackay Brown felt immediately at ease with her despite his paralysing shyness, and she awoke in him "a delight I had not known before".
Mackay Brown wrote her letters and poems and continued to write to her after they had parted, recalling their days in Edinburgh together, reading poetry, walking in the Pentlands and kissing one wet Saturday afternoon beside the Water of Leith. While it was not a full-blown affair, the two were extremely close, and she had an invigorating effect on his writing. In one of a sequence of four poems dedicated to her he wrote:
Cargoes of alien pain
Tenderly she transmutes
To quiet things

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Last edited by softgrey; 23-02-2007 at 09:58 AM.
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23-02-2007
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lovely article...
thanks mm...



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23-02-2007
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thanks mm!
very interesting... these muses seem to occupy the forefront and the shadows of artists' work so often...

they inspire so much yet we know very little about them in many cases..
this helps to shed some light on some of them..

thanks again

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24-02-2007
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Speaking of muses - I was just reading about Elizabeth Siddal who was a muse to Dante Gabriel Rossetti.Attachment 282186 Perhaps you might recall her as the subject of John Millais' Ophelia.Attachment 282203 She never really recovered from that icy water for her sitting in that portrait. Story goes that as she turned into her 30's, she realized she would remain a spinster as Rossetti would not marry her. She had already endured a still-born child and took to laudanum (an opiate derivative). Rossetti came home one evening to find her dead. Was the overdose accidental or suicide? It was never officially determined. But Rossetti was so distraught - he painted his final homage to her.Attachment 282199 But then he met a new wonderful muse.....Jane Burden. Attachment 282204 But then she married his best friend, printer William Morris. But that's another chapter.


Last edited by ruslana rules; 18-05-2007 at 02:10 AM.
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24-02-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrissyM
very interesting... these muses seem to occupy the forefront and the shadows of artists' work so often...

they inspire so much yet we know very little about them in many cases..
this helps to shed some light on some of them..
Yes many of them don't get any credit...wonderful article

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25-02-2007
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I really had no idea that there were muses for so long...I kind of believed it to be limited to fashion past Grecian time.

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25-02-2007
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There was a terrific article on contemporary film directors and their muses (including Nicole Kidman, Penelope Cruz, and Naomi Watts) but I will have to get back to you with its location...

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25-02-2007
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Also:

Lee Miller, Photographer, Muse to Man Ray
Marianne Faithfull, Musician, Rock Muse
Zelda Fitzgerald, Author, Muse to Scott Fitzgerald
George Sand, Novelist, the Muse of Adultery and Muse to Chopin and Alfred de Musset
Anais Nin, Author, Muse to Henry Miller
Amanda Lear, Singer, Muse to Salvador Dali
Cathérine Deneuve, Actress, Muse to Bunuel, André Téchiné and Yves Saint Laurent
Camille Claudel, Sculptor, Muse to Rodin
Alice B. Toklas, Author, Muse to Gertrude Stein and the Lesbian movement
Leonora Carrington, Artist, Muse to Max Ernst
Jeanne Hebuterne, Model and Painter, Muse to Modigliani
Loulou de la Falaise, Designer, Muse to Yves Saint Laurent
Dora Maar, Writer, Muse
to Picasso
http://www.geocities.com/headlobe/muses.html

and very recently: Anna Mouglalis, Actress, Muse to Karl Lagerfeld
and Sofia Coppola, Director, Muse to Marc Jacobs?


Last edited by Virginielle; 25-02-2007 at 11:08 PM.
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25-02-2007
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Funny little article about being/aspiring to be a muse:
http://archive.salon.com/mwt/style/2...ses/index.html

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26-02-2007
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But I like the stories that accompany each muse. And such great stories. I guess Marlene Dietrich was sort of a muse to Joseph Von SternbergAttachment 282797

Attachment 282798 Under his tutelage, she got to know about lighting like nobody else. And she was very particular about her lighting. She could tell if the light she was under wasn't the correct wattage, angle, color, etc. Needless to say, many considered her too demanding. And toward the end of her public career, she had been heard to mutter as she cast her eyes toward the heavens..."Oh, Joe - where are you now when I need you..." Photo Source: Rrauctions.com


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17-03-2007
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Two take Manhattan



'Shrimpton and Bailey' - the very names conjure up the spirit of an age, when Britain was a byword for cool. It all began, says Robin Muir, with a love affair between a photographer and his muse who together captured the heart of New York

Saturday March 17, 2007
The Guardian

These uncomplicated pictures, taken on the streets of Manhattan over a few sunless January days, spearheaded the British invasion of America. At the dawn of 1962, before the miniskirt and the classless "pop-ocracy" of the Beatles and the Stones, there was David Bailey and Jean Shrimpton. Their significance did not go unnoticed, at least not by the then editor-in-chief of American Vogue, Diana Vreeland. When she met them, tired and cold and not looking their best having failed to flag down a cab, she proclaimed, "But they are adorable! England. Has. Arrived."
Back at home, the partnership of Bailey and Shrimpton was not yet the stuff of legend - it was barely a year old - but it was attracting attention. At 24, Bailey saw himself as something of an outsider: "Being a cockney was no help in the beginning, only after 65. I remember one of those women patting me on the head and saying, 'Oh, doesn't he speak cute?'
"'I'll give you cute'," he vowed as the editors continued patting his head up and down the corridors of Vogue. It is certainly true that his upbringing did not prepare him for a career in photography, far less fashion photography, the milieu of a privileged elite. "I could be either a jazz musician, an actor or a car thief," he once said, surveying the opportunities open to an East Ham teenager in the 50s. He wasn't brave enough for larceny, acting was just "talking posh" and his great love, ornithology, would get him nowhere fast. Instead, on National Service in Singapore in 1956, he acquired a cheap roll camera and exposed a few frames. On his return, photography became a career and Vogue beckoned (though only just: Woman's Own paid more). By now, Bailey's father considered him "queer as a coot". Meanwhile, 18-year-old Jean Shrimpton from Buckinghamshire, a graduate of the Lucie Clayton Modelling School and fresh to Vogue, put it more airily: she was, she declared, "as green as a spring salad".
Bailey and Shrimpton first worked together in 1960 at Brides, a testing ground for Vogue photographers. They hit it off and from then on he fought for her. He nearly jeopardised a big chance at Vogue - 14 pages of celebrity-led fashion for September 1961 - by insisting on Shrimpton as model. Fashion editor Lady Clare Rendlesham, equally stubborn and alarmingly forbidding, refused. Bailey dug in further. In the end, Rendlesham gave in. "I was intent on delivering the goods," Shrimpton said. "I wanted to prove Lady Rendlesham wrong." The sitting made Bailey's name and a trip to New York was pencilled in for January - with Rendlesham as editor and chaperone.
"I wanted Jean," Bailey says. "She was just about everything to me then. I put everything of me into her. She was my total muse - I didn't want to look ...; at another model. There was a sort of magic there. She had a democratic kind of beauty, one that no one could possibly object to. Kate Moss has it. Other supermodels can just scare you. They are too beautiful. Everyone loved Jean."
Bailey's first trip abroad for the magazine was clearly an accolade, but also something of a probationary exercise. Vogue, smelling revolution in the air, was unsure of what it was unleashing: "Remember, David," Vogue's managing director admonished the young photographer, "you will be representing Vogue, so please do not wear your leather jacket in the St Regis" - advice Bailey pointedly ignored.
As the plane took off, Shrimpton was clad, she confessed later, in "the most peculiar leather gear": a black leather trenchcoat, a black leather pinafore dress and pair of enormous, thigh-high boots. Bailey was also encased in black. "He was utterly beautiful - they were both utterly beautiful," said their worldlier friend, Nicky Haslam, along for the trip. With his dark eyes and unkempt hair, Bailey looked like nothing so much as "Mowgli setting out across the hills" (if Mowgli were to own winkle-pickers and a polo-neck). "They'll never let us land," Rendlesham muttered to Haslam. They did, but US customs turned them over, finding some canine worming pills that Shrimpton had left in her handbag.
The pair were enthralled by the city, the riotous circus of its streets and the lunatic display of everyday Manhattan life. They ran circles around Rendlesham, whose brief was to show mid-priced British fashion against the city's sweeping panorama. But Bailey had his own agenda: to bring to fashion photography the spontaneity of street reportage. Instead of the Statue of Liberty and soaring, modernist architecture, he turned inwards and down. He raked his lens over Shrimpton in phone booths on Broadway, in shooting galleries off Times Square and outside the pagoda-fronted restaurants of Chinatown. A lack of professional polish - hair, make-up, assistant - gave the pictures a rawness so far denied him at British Vogue. This compensated for more immediate vagaries: "It was so cold," Bailey said, "the cameras stuck to your fingers," adding, "An adventure? Not really. Clare Rendlesham was crying all the time and Jean was very, very cold. Physically shivering and her eyes watering. The clothes were dreadful. I didn't think Vogue would like what Jean and I were doing. They didn't like much of what I did anyway. I didn't care. I just did what I did. But it worked." Young Idea Goes West, the result of the trip, ran in April 1962. Bailey and Shrimpton's collaboration, played out on the fashion pages, mirrored a personal relationship now played out everywhere else. The tall home counties girl and the scruffy urban iconoclast captured the popular imagination, catalysts for London's emerging youth culture. Bailey had become Vogue's star photographer, displacing those who told him he would fail because "I didn't have my head in a cloud of pink chiffon". He now had an enviable shop window, hijacking nearly every issue of Vogue from 1962 to 1966. In November 1965 it threw in the towel and gave over to him an entire issue and, in so doing, turned him into an idea (as well as an adjective). "Here are," it trumpeted, "the most Bailey girls in the world ...". It was around this time Bailey asked Vogue's managing director to move his Humber so he could park his Rolls-Royce.

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20-03-2007
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Are there any living muses?

Here is a link to the history of the muse... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muse There is a great deal more than I'm posting here...

In Greek mythology, the Muses (Greek ??????, Mousai: from the Proto-Indo-European root *men- "think", from which mind and mental are also derived[1]) are 50 goddesses or spiritual guides who embody the arts and inspire the creation process with their graces through remembered and improvised song and stage, writing, traditional music and dance. They were water nymphs, associated with the springs of Helicon and Pieris; from the latter they are sometimes called the Pierides. The Olympian system set Apollo as their leader, Apollon Mousagetes. Not only are they used in modern English to refer to an inspiration, as when one cites his/her own artistic muse, but also in the words "amuse" or "musing upon", which are rooted in their name.

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25-03-2007
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interesting article, it seems like all the muses in the article above had such adventurous lives. Soooo much drama. lol

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25-03-2007
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In case anyone has not yet seen the trailer for Factory Girl (about the life of Edie Sedgwick and the artist/muse relationship between Andy Warhol and herself): http://www.apple.com/trailers/weinstein/factorygirl/

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25-03-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Virginielle
In case anyone has not yet seen the trailer for Factory Girl (about the life of Edie Sedgwick and the artist/muse relationship between Andy Warhol and herself): http://www.apple.com/trailers/weinstein/factorygirl/
There are TFS threads for Edie and for the Factory Girl film.

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