Muse? No Thanks, I am my own muse.

Art Musings issue#1

Thalia~the blossoming one


Ah, the Muse, the ancient source of an artist’s inspiration.  

Well, that is unless you’re a visual artist.  

You see, there is no muse claiming credit for the visual arts of painting or sculpture.  

Now, I know what you’re thinking. Surely, Amanda, you must be mistaken.  

But nope, I assure you Art has no Muse.  

Let’s take a look at those famous Greek ladies of inspiration.  

The muses according to Greek myth were the nine daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne and were the protectors of the Arts and Sciences. 


So who inspired/protected what?  

The Nine Muses

Well let’s see, let’s start with the lady in charge, Calliope.  

Calliope, known as the beautiful of speech, was head of the muses and was the muse of epic or heroic poetry.  

Clio~the glorious one~was the muse of history  

Erato~the amorous one~was the muse of love, erotic poetry, lyrics, and marriage songs  

Euterpe~the well pleasing one~was the muse of music and lyric poetry  

Melpomene~the chanting one~was the muse of tragedy  

Polyhymnia/Polymnia~the singer of many hymns~was the muse for, you guessed it singing, lyric, oratory, rhetoric, and sacred songs.  

Terpsichore~the one who delights in dance~was the muse of choral song and dance (like that wasn’t obvious)  

Thalia (pictured above)~the blossoming one~was the muse of comedy and bucolic poetry  

and finally  

Urania~the celestial one~ was the muse of astronomy  

Now I know what you’re saying , ” but, Amanda, the Greeks…they were so progressive, surely they had a soft spot for visual artists. Maybe there’s some lost sister out there?”  

Well actually, the Greeks valued the written over the visual. Just like some uptight writers I’ve known… You try arguing a picture is worth a 1000 words, and it gets ugly! Anyway, I digress.  

My point is, painters and sculptors were  held in low regard, somewhere between freemen and slaves.[1]  

I know. Nice, eh? Then again, some days it feels like we’re paid the same, lol.  

Regardless, no muse.  

Looks like we’ll just have to continue drawing inspiration from inside ourselves, grabbing hold of the things we feel and experience in order to create.  



[1] In Our Time: The Artist BBC Radio 4, TX 28th March 2002

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