Quotes about the Muse (Artist and Muse)

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Forster, J. (2007). Muses: Revealing the Nature of Inspiration. Harpenden, Herts: Oldcastle Books.
  1. Inspiration can motivate people to carry out feats of imaginative brilliance, to invent entirely new ways of perceiving the world and to create breathtaking works of art, literature or music. And, in the realm of inspiration, one thing is certain – muses have a large role to play. p13
  2. The archetype of the passive muse found in Ancient Greece and the Middle Ages has been shed in the centuries sense then; muses have found their voice, and minds have opened to accommodate spiritual, male and mutual muses. p14
  3. When feisty muses and artists get together it can become combustible – like sodium making contact with water. p15
  4. This is inspiration in the context of human relationships and, in many instances, in the context of the love which binds the artist and muse together – sometimes across continents, often beyond world and, occasionally, in spite of the other. p.16
  5. The sons of Alice believe that there were three muses called Melete (study or practice), Mneme (memory) and Aoide (song). The more common recollection of the Muses from this era is that there were nine of them… p 19 (see muse post)
  6. To invoke the muses at the beginning of any artistic endeavor quickly became a tradition and one which lasted for many centuries. p20
  7. And later accounts, the nine muses were believed to influence their own individual round of arts, humanities or science. p 21
  8. These later muses, all of them female goddesses, where the offspring of the god Zeus and my goddess Mnemosyne, I name which translates as ‘memory’ and which has its roots in the word for ‘moon’. p 21
  9. When the inspiration of the muses was invoked by Greek artist, poets or philosophers they would, in effect, be calling upon both the world’s memory and their capacity to use their imagination to inform their work or composition. p21
  10. No wonder that the word ‘museum’ is derived from the same root as muse; the place where everything agent is kept lest we forget it. p 25
  11. When the soul recollects this memory – notice the role of memory here – it shakes its wings and gradually distances itself from the filthy body and becomes ‘holy possessed by divine frenzy’. p27
  12. Although ancient, the Gnostic approach to inspiration is perhaps the most fitting to transplant into the western democratic world with his tendency towards privileging the individual. Inspiration, for both the Gnostics and for the modern artist, moves from the realm of the gods to the round of reality.p29
  13. Literary commentators use Beatrice as an example of a muse turned into an allegory, for, and La Divina Commedia, she comes to symbolize more abstract qualities such as grace or redemption. p35
  14. Laura is the ultimate muse as tabula rasa or blank canvas, a role that each muse in this book plays, some to a greater extent than others. p.37
  15. Yeats’s union with his wife demonstrates and bold terms how effectively the muse can act as a conduit to inspiration. p44
  16. Graves’ comment about the muse’s heart always harboring the wish to take her life in simple domesticity could have been written just for Sylvia. p57
  17. ‘Cultivate the madness. Do not run from it. In madness there is wisdom for the artist. Let everything go to head and let it boil there.’ p69
  18. Spooky stuff and that this concept of it and or harmonizing with the outer is seen by many as central to the nature of inspiration. p112
  19. Theodore Zeldin set up the Oxford Muse Foundation in 2001 in order to bring together people who want inspiration to think more imaginatively, to cultivate their emotions to practice of the arts and to understand the past better and have a clear vision of the future. p113
  20. The comparison between muses and intermediaries is a close one; in many ways muses are the unsung heroes and heroines of the artistic world, the invisible and in unquantifiable energy which often isn’t name-checked in artists’ acknowledgments, or roll-called in their award acceptance speeches. p115
  21. Archetypal muse has adapted over millennia from her origins as a mountain goddess and yet she remains just as multifaceted, and endlessly mysterious and infinitely nebulous. p119
Prose, F. (2003). The Lives of the Muses: Nine Women & the Artists They Inspired (Reprint edition). New York: Harper Perennial.
  1. One difference between magic and art is that magic can be explained. p.2
  2. But the artist can never fully account for that Alchemical process that turns anatomical knowledge and fresco technique into the Sistine Chapel. To create anything is to undergo the humbling and strange experience–like a mystical visitation or spirit possession–of making something and not knowing where it comes from. p2
  3. Fact, we know remarkably little about the origin of the muses. p3
  4. Mate the life force with a sense of the past, and what you get is a culture. p3
  5. They loved water and played and sacred founts; the swan was their holy bird. Pegasus belong to them, a present from Athena. p.4
  6. The daughters of Pierus–would-be rival muses–were transformed into birds. p4
  7. And sense falling in love is the closest that most people come to transcendence, to the feeling of being inhabited by unwilled, unruly forces, passion became the model for understanding inspiration. Why does the artist right or paint? The artist must be in love. p5
  8. We recognize that the heavenly news invoked by Milton and Spenser belongs to a purer, loftier, and more attractive branch of the same family as Gala Dali, the shamelessly earthy muse of her husband, Salvador. p5
  9. You can know more about a woman then you can about a goddess. p5
  10. Each era endows the muse with the qualities, virtues, and flaws that the epoch and it’s artist need and deserve. p7
  11. More recently, the brilliant photographer, Lee Miller, deployed the skills she learned as a Man Ray’s muse to progress from muse to artist. p 7
  12. Yoko Ono was, in many ways, Gala’s spiritual heir; coincidentally, the two muses and their artists lived in New York’s St. Regis Hotel at the same time. p7
  13. Yoko had doubts that Gala I did not, for Yoko harbored reasonable suspicion, shared with her female contemporaries, about the drawbacks of being a muse rather than an artist. Initially, she attempted a sort of job – sharing arrangement with her husband, and admirable if impossible effort that she ultimately abandoned, and struggled with him, even after death, over who was the real artist, and who was the news. p8
  14. Shouldn’t the muse be retired for good, abolished along with all the other retro, primitive, uninvolved sexist myths? p9
  15. His presence could be neither summoned or compelled, he came only when he chose to, and she had some reasonable anxiety about keeping his attention. p11
  16. Few male artist seem to have suffered from similar concerns, nor did many of them appear to have been much trouble by the possibility of boring or tiring there muses. p11
  17. Of course, the news is ability to grant or withhold inspiration is an important ability which explains the block screenwriters flinging pale blue Tiffany boxes at the muse-as-Sharon-Stone. p12
  18. In any case, we are, these days, more likely to agree that a city, a country, or a continent can function as a muse then to cite a woman or a man as a source of inspiration. p12
  19. We believe that a change of scenery can aid in the creative process.p13
  20. A recent show at New York’s Museum of modern Art, “The Museum as Muse”, explored the ways in which artist have been influenced by the places where their work has been exhibited. p13
  21. Four to take them use incarnate seriously makes us acutely self-conscious, which is perhaps why the news is now most readily and poked in the iconic orbit of the fashion industry. p14
  22. Just the thought of the muse can trigger a related compulsion – the urgent need to explain why woman can never hope to graduate from muse to artist. p14
  23. The will or instinctive strategies they employed to avoid becoming the sturdy linchpins holding together the machinery of daily art production range widely. p16
  24. From the moment the muse claims rights over his work, other than those recognized by the poet, irreparable misunderstandings arise, and it is time for them to part. p17
  25. For artists, like the rest of us, sooner or later notice of the power of longing is more durable than the thrill of possession. p17
  26. If certain artist require the goad of unsatisfied a longing and if others, conversely utilize the power of sex to generate energy, raise the spirits, and focus the mind, still others seek from their muses not pleasure but forgiveness – what Etienne Gilson calls “the nostalgic luxury sanctuary.” p19
  27. Some muses, like… operate serially, progressing from genius to genius, while some artists – Picasso was one example, Balanchine another, – tire of their muses, discard them, and acquire new ones. p19
  28. Resent their inconsiderate insistence on standing in the way, I’m disrupting and triangulating the fantasy love affair between art lover and I love object – our romance with the artist. p20
  29. All of which suggests another, motif in the lives of the muses; inspiration as a social and communal activity. p21
  30. The sexual and private lives of the muses have often provoked fantastic rumors, feverish speculations that long outlive them. p21
  31. Like many lovers, artists display and endearing tendency to overestimate the beloved. p22
  32. The lives of the muses at once the illumine and deepen the mysteries of Eros and creativity, as each muse redraws the border between a human and a divine, the mortal and the eternal. p23

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