Man, had I forgotten this one! But I see why I saved it. A 19th C artist, his studio, a lay figure, mirror images, picture frames—so much to linger over. An art-appreciation teacher might point to the way verticals and diagonals direct the eye, or the way the lighting picks out the gilding and that impressive mechanical figure. But what attracts a writer? What stories does His Favorite Model suggest?
Picturing a World
Blog post alert: Audrey Munson, Artists' Muse at Gurney Journey is a post on the career of a professional model in New York City during the early 20th C. It has several pictures and links to longer coverage. In brief: she posed for Beaux-Arts sculptors, appeared nude in a 1915 movie about a model, lived to be 104, and spent half her life in an insane asylum. I don't think she has figured in any historical fiction, but she sure could!
Image via Wikipedia Commons
Blog post alert: In 2020, Drēma Drudge, author of a lively blog about fiction and art, published a novel, Victorine with Fleur-de-Lis Press, which brings out first books by writers who have been featured in The Louisville Review. This historical novel is based on the life of Victorine Meurent, one of Édouard Manet's models who was a painter herself. All the arts are now and always have been hard, but they are more than deeply rewarding—they are necessary. Thanks, Drema, for reminding us of the stories hidden in the past and for keeping them alive through your own creativity today.
I'm always on the lookout for images that reveal something about the life of Parisian artists' models. Bertha Newcombe was an English suffragist, who studied at the Académie Colarrossi in Paris. Here, her woman's-eye sketch of the end of a day captures how tired the hardworking her fellow art students were and how matter-of-fact the model was in putting her clothes back on. More of Newcombe's work can be found at Wikipedia Commons, including a nifty women's suffrage poster.
And now back to school! Early in my research on women’s art education, I Read More
The characters in Where the Light Falls buy flowers variously from street peddlers, at stalls in big outdoor markets, and in an upscale florist’s shop. I have posted some of the beautiful depictions of the motif in the blog. Doré’s painting brought me up short, however, with its reminder of Read More
For John Fergus Weir’s wonderful image of an undressed lay figure that shows its construction, click here. And for the first of a wonderfully informative series of blog posts on lay figures by Dinotopia artist James Gurney and links to the rest, click here. Read More
Fan fiction writers, do you prefer to take a minor character and go off in a new direction, or do you prefer sequels and prequels? Do you see a story here? Read More