Muse: Uncovering the Hidden Figures Behind Art History's Masterpieces

Muse: Uncovering the Hidden Figures Behind Art History's Masterpieces

by Ruth Millington
Muse: Uncovering the Hidden Figures Behind Art History's Masterpieces

Muse: Uncovering the Hidden Figures Behind Art History's Masterpieces

by Ruth Millington



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The fascinating true stories of thirty incredible muses—and their role in some of art history's most well-known masterpieces.

We instantly recognize many of their faces from the world's most iconic artworks—but just who was Picasso's 'Weeping Woman'? Or the burglar in Francis Bacon's oeuvre? Why was Grace Jones covered in graffiti? Far from posing silently, muses have brought emotional support, intellectual energy, career-changing creativity, and practical help to artists. However, the perception of the muse is that of a passive, powerless model (usually young, attractive, and female) at the mercy of an influential and older male artist. Could this impression be incorrect and unfair? Is this trope a romanticized myth? Have people embraced, even sought, the status of muse? Most importantly, where would artists be without them? In Muse, Ruth Millington's goal is to re-assess and re-claim that word in a celebratory narrative that takes ownership and demonstrates how outdated the common perception of that word is.

Muse also explores the idea of ‘muse’ in a different way and includes performance artists and celebrities, iconic figures we perhaps haven’t considered before as muses, such as Tilda Swinton and Grace Jones. By delving into the real-life relationships that models have held with the artists who immortalized them, it will expose the influential and active part they have played in contributing to the artwork they inspired, and explore the various ways people have subverted stereotypical ‘muse’ roles.

From job supervisors to homeless men in Harlem, Muse will reveal the unexpected, overlooked, and forgotten models of art history. Through the stories of thirty remarkable lives, from performing muses to muses who have been turned into messages, this book will deconstruct reductive stereotypes of the muse, and reframe it as a momentous and empowered agent of art history.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781639361564
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Publication date: 05/03/2022
Format: eBook
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 920,917
File size: 24 MB
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About the Author

Ruth Millington is an art historian, critic, and author, specialising in modern and contemporary art. She has written for various publications, including The i newspaper, Sunday Times, Telegraph, Daily Mail, Sorbet Magazine and BBC Online. She has been featured as an art expert on TV and radio, including BBC Breakfast, Sky Arts and ITV News.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

The Artist as Muse

Juan de Pareja: A Face of Freedom 13

Dora Maar: The Weeping Woman 21

Emilie Flöge: Dressing Klimt's Kiss 31

Peter Schlesinger: Sink or Swim 41

The Self as Muse

Artemisia Gentileschi: Survivor, Painter, Slaver 53

Frida Kahlo: Heroine of Pain 63

Sunil Gupta: Playing Dead 73

Nilupa Yasmin: Weaving a Way In 83

Family Albums

Helena Dumas: Childhood Uncensored 95

Beyoncé: The Fertility Goddess 103

Fukase Sukezo: Father Figure 111

For the Love of the Muse

Ada Katz: American Beauty 123

George Dyer: Bacon and the Burglar 131

Lawrence Alloway: The Critic Stripped Bare 143

Gala Dali: Queen of the Castle 155

Performing Muse

Moro: Homemade Sushi 167

Ulay: Breathing in Marina Abramovic 173

Grace Jones: Graffiti Goddess 183

Tilda Swinton: Surrealist Shapeshifter 191

Lila Nunes: Guardian Angel 199

Muse of a Movement

Elizabeth Siddall: Ophelia Awakes 209

Sunday Reed: In the Paradise Garden 219

Lady Ottoline Morrell: Bloomsbury Bohemian 231

Marchesa Luisa Casati: Medusa's Stare 241

Muse as Message

Anna Christina Olson: Christina's World 255

Doreen Lawrence: No Woman, No Cry 265

Sue Tilley: Supervisor Sleeping 271

Ollie Henderson: Start the Riot 277

Souleo: Icon of Harlem 285

Epilogue: The Muse Manifesto 295

Bibliography 303

Acknowledgements 310

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