MUSE is a series of twenty diptychs of the relationships that inspired great works of art. The images are photomontages combining old photographs of the subjects with images I have captured. This series offers a contemporary twist on the historical relationships between women referred to as muses and the artists they inspired. The pairings occurred since the invention of photography in order to use historic photographs of each individual. The photographs of the artists and muses were reworked to enhance a somewhat surreal quality. Each pairing is set against a background that is either geographically correct and or fits in a psychological manner. All of the subjects in this historically based series are from an era in art during which the muse was considered to be a source of great inspiration. My fascination was in what the subjects looked like in photographs and the pairing of the particular muse or muses with each artist. I strive to hint at the relationships, which were at the core of the muse-artist arrangement. While each of the pairings became famous and often romanticized I hope to peel always the veneer and see them side-by-side as the people they were.
A muse is more about the inspiration they are able to evoke in another human being, than about their physical appearance. A muse inspires and stirs the blood by their presence. It is the personality of the muse, perhaps charismatic, but in some way with the capacity to light a fire in the artist. There are women who functioned as a muse for multiple creative men while others were a muse to only one. In some cases the muse was a model, a wife, a companion or a lover. Some were beautiful others were not. Many went on to become great artists in their own right. Regardless of all else at the core is the ability of one human being to inspire another as if to stir the creative juices.
The artist will feel deeply the need to express what they have felt or captured in the muse. One wonders whether women who are experienced as muses have the innate ability to connect with the particular artist at some deep level as if to hold up a mirror to the artist and show them a hidden part of themselves. The muse has a magnetism, not felt by all artistic men, but only be select ones. Could it be that the woman who an artist identifies as his muse is the one who makes him feel alive, invigorated, electrified if you will. Some have loved or made love to their muse while others simply fed on their inspiration. Many artists have wives and lovers who never become their muse. The role of a muse is in their ability to bring to life something, perhaps an emotion, in the artist, that taps the artist’s need, desire, passion to express that which is felt creatively.