The purpose of the artist’s Muse is manifold.  That elusive being who showers  inspiration on man and bathes in the glory of the artists recreation.  The Pre Raphaelites had an eye for these beautiful women and celebrated their beauty with paint – if not always by deed (you know who you are Mr Rossetti).  I came across this video which is accompanied by the most wonderful music, featuring Elizabeth Siddal and Jane Morris (the more well-known of the Muses).  The artists include  Burne-Jones, Millais, Rossetti and Waterhouse: timeless art.

Video by  with thanks!

My previous post about the art of the Pre Raphaelite Brotherhood, featuring a poll to find the top Pre Raphaelite painting.

There’s now 4 poems in the American Gothic Poetry Challenge over on Bookstains

22 thoughts on “Musings

  1. Yes a lovely video with some paitings I havent seen before ,esp the lady by the shore which is enchanting,,, I sometimes wonder though how did the muses feel when they were old and grey looking at their younger selves

    1. Heres a pic of Jane Morris, old and grey, showing that she was still fascinating artists even when old;-

      Elizabeth Siddal died young of course (25 July 1829 – 11 February 1862)
      I suspect any muse feels like I do – looking at younger pics of themselves (what happened?)
      It’s only when you look back that you realise you weren’t too bad after all 🙂 If only you could enjoy it when you were young, instead of fretting 😦 Perhaps Wilde was right ‘Youth IS wasted on the young’

  2. sometimes i think beauty is scary – may be breathlessly scary. of course that’s true of the muse as well. the truth is (as i see it in this moment) the only beauty there ever is, is the way we are right now, in this moment. beautiful voice. beautiful paintings. beautiful life.

      1. aloha echostains – ha. yeah, we can. i mean, yeah, we can celebrate exactly this – if we only would! that’s all we’d have to do – just do it. …however… just like with meditation and yoga, sheesh – i know it’s good for me. i even have a reasonable idea of HOW Really Good it is for me. …so how come i slip off the pattern of doing it? human beings, ha. like muses… we are such a curious creature. – thanks echostains – aloha.

  3. I have often wondered if a “man” could be a muse and is there evidence of this? Otherwise, is this another way we objectify women? Not sure where I’m going with this (laughingly)…so I will leave it at that. Thanks Lynda.

    1. I don’t know if a man can be a muse Al. These women were models so in that sense – yes (in a painting perhaps). Perhaps men are used more for the ideals they embody, in writing. For example – Mr Darcy from P and P. How did Austen dream him up? I don’t think he was based on a real person. Heathcliff of Wuthering Heights is said to have some of the wild ways of Branwell, Emily’s brother – but there the similiaries stop 😀 In other words – I don’t know 😀
      I don’t know if the Pre Raphaelites did did objectify women BUT if an artist wants to depict me as a woman from Arthurian legend, I’d make some conditions – No lieing in baths for hours at a time and catching my death! :-0

      1. oh. this is an interesting conversation. i hope you two dont mind if i add my nickle (inflation) of thought…

        in the classical sense i suspect most recently (i’m meaning centuries here) the gender of muse has most often been feminine. altho i’m not sure that holds true if i go far enough back in time. our time tho… i think we are in a new era. i think we are rewriting our own world. again. the muse does have some devastating powers – both positive and negative – inspiration and beauty vs abandonment and despair – among other things. i think males are capable of these things in our age as much as females.

        for each artist i’m sure there are individual preferences for muse gender – and of course it may not be a one or the other preference at all i suppose. a muse to one is not a muse to all. …this leads me to another question – does a muse have to take on human form? i’d probably answer this no, as well.

        i find in my working process, i like the work that comes about when there is a specific being i am in dialogue with in my skull. this is my muse. the embodiment of this being may take on different forms. i’m okay with that. it’s usually very clear to me when this being is my muse – because this being – my muse – always has muse powers over me.

  4. Good comment Rick 🙂 I don’t know what gender my muse is, but like you, I do know when it’s there. Sometimes the words spontaneously flow – other times I’m grasping for the appropriate one. It’s at times like these that the muse stands with it’s hands behind it’s back shaking its head and saying;-
    “NO – I’m NOT playing today!”
    Where poetry is concerned though – a line will just sweep out of the blue(sometimes) and I’m off 😀 Therefore my poetry muse must be blue 😀
    Yes, it’s defintely blue (I’ve not written a poem for a few days 😀 )

  5. I loved the video! As you say that style of painting still works so well today. The colours are so rich and the women beautiful. I love the fantasy element to them, each one could have a story written around the figures. One day I shall have a roomful of them! (prints of course!)

    1. Sorry my replies to comments have been so late – but this is the first chance I have had any time to myself – very hectic at the moment!
      The muses play the characters of Arthurian legends, poems etc. There is a whole room of them at Manchester City Art gallery (near where I live) Needless to say, this is a VERY popular room with visitors!

      And they are still as mystical and vibrant – probably as the day they were painted 🙂

  6. Wow! Truly great painters! Different expressions, different strokes and it always end up with how beautiful and mysterious women are!

    Thanks Lynda — I enjoyed it! 🙂

  7. Beautiful. Thanks so much for this, Lynda. I adore the Pre-Raphaelites’ work.

    Something for you and your other readers here, if you like it. One of my paintings as a free gift: Do The Funky Duck.

  8. I have always found the colors and shadows of the pre-Raphaelites so much more tantalizing than those of the Impressionists. These ladies could very well be made of melted jewels.

    As for the gender of the muse, I think we must consider sentimentality as well…the Victorians were nothing if not romantic, and preferred their women that way: useless, beautiful and inspiring.

    1. Love the melted jewels comparison – good observation Aubrey 🙂
      The sentimental Victorians aren’t disimiliar to us really. We prefer our women pumped up with plastic and as far removed from real life as possible. These women are far from useless…they are er ‘liberated’ 😦

  9. Now I’m wondering, Lynda. Are there any female artists who do the same for MEN????? Are men ever “muses” for women artists? I think they must be, YET–I currently can not think of one. How about you?

  10. I can’t think of any women who used men as muses. But Michaelangelo seemed to think a lot of ‘David’
    “In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it.”—Michelangelo

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