As The Muse Muses
Minerva among the Muses (detail) /Public Domain
I’ve been deeply engaged of late in thought about the Muse and how the role of Muse has evolved over the centuries.
Once defined as, “a woman, or a force personified as a woman, who is the source of inspiration for a creative artist,” in modern times, a muse may just as often be a man as a woman.
In Greek and Roman mythology, Muse referred to, “each of nine goddesses, the daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne, who preside over the arts and sciences.” They were both the embodiments and sponsors of performed metrical speech. Besides music, the other areas presided over by the muses included Science, Geography, Mathematics, Philosophy, Art, Drama, and Inspiration.
Whether through performing something beautiful or simply exuding physical beauty, the role of the muse is to inspire. Some of the art worlds’ most renowned muses include Dora Maar, who inspired many of Picasso’s most recognized art. Edie Sedgwick served as Muse to Andy Warhol and Bob Dylan. Camille Claudel was the inspiration behind much of Auguste Rodin’s work. Helga was one of Andrew Wyeth’s most powerful Muses. In the literary world you’ll find Zelda served as muse to F. Scott Fitzgerald, Fanny Brawne inspired John Keats. And, the power of a male muse is clear in the case of Neal Cassady who served as muse to Jack Kerouac. Even Einstein had a muse in Mileva Mariç. The list of muses is endless.
In the past, the muse, being a woman, often sublimated her own talent and career so that the male artist could be recognized and lauded. The talented artist/muse Camille Claudel is one of the most well-known cases. Lee Krasner, artist and muse to Jackson Pollock also had a diminished career in light of her support of Pollock.
Inspiring Creativity For A Living
It’s impossible to know when or if a muse will appear in one’s life. Likewise, it’s equally impossible to know if one will serve the role as muse. However, it is possible to consciously aspire to inspire others to their best and highest expressions both personally and professionally. This is the role I have been performing in service to a growing list of creative clients in a wide range of businesses.
In my experience, the artist-muse relationship is most productive when the relationship is collaborative. What I mean is that the muse is a contributor to the work being created and both parties value what the other brings, and both appreciate the uniqueness and quality of the work they produce.
Between these two, there is also a healthy distance where it is understood where this partnership begins and ends. The goal of producing great work is the focus, and there is a wonderful expediency to the process because of the experience shared from their working history and familiarity with each other’s idiosyncrasies
I love inspiring others to seek, find and express their most soulful creative selves. If you are looking to establish an artist/muse relationship, let’s talk.