Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Muses: Different Strokes for Different Folks

In Greek mythology, Muses were nine very intelligent and beautiful divinities credited with inspiring artists and scientists to their creative heights. And even today, the word "muse" is used in the same sense, referring to a woman who can ignite the creative genius of an artist, inspiring them to create masterpieces, and sometimes, securing their place in the history of Arts. The artist-muse relationship can be very complex and intriguing. As I was reading about a few Impressionist and Modern painters and their inspirations, I came across some very interesting stories on their muses, and without going into details, here's a very brief outline on artist-muse relations of three great artists..

Pablo Picasso, often called a “Bohemian Casanova", was [in]famous for developing very intimate passionate relations with his muses. But then he left them, always, and always devastated, as he moved on to his next muse-mistress. Most of his muses have tragic tales, as some would stalk him and some undergo nervous breakdown and even commit suicide.
For more on Picasso's Women and their Tragic Tales.. click here..

But Edgar Degas was very detached from his muses. He never married. His nudes are anonymous, rather than individualized. Degas was more interested in capturing their shapes and posture. He described his style as if "Looking through a Keyhole". Degas once said, People call me the painter of dancing girls. It has never occurred to them that my chief interest in dancers lies in rendering movement and painting pretty clothes.
For more on Edgar Degas' nudes.. click here..

Henri Matisse's famous muse was a part-time nurse named Monique Bourgeois. When Matisse was convalescing from cancer he hired her as a temporary nurse. He did a few canvases and several sketches of her, but never nude. Matisse met Monique in 1941 and in 1944, she joined a convent, took the veil and was given the name Sister Jacques Marie. However, later, she renewed her visits to Matisse. She spoke to him about a small chapel the sisters were thinking of renovating. He agreed to help her and thus at the age of 77, he had the greatest and biggest project of his life. When the chapel was completed in 1951, Matisse declared it his masterpiece. Matisse is said to have claimed that it was because of, and for, Sister Jacques-Marie only that he became interested in the chapel and agreed to become involved.

Three artists, almost the same time-period, and very different relationship with their muses. As is said, Different Strokes for Different Folks..
Or as Woody Allen would say.. Whatever Works!!

1 comment:

Laura said...

Fantastic entry.
A topic very few touch.
Well presented.
- Laura