― Rob Brezsny
Women who were the muses throughout the ages inspired men to create things of beauty; poetry, songs, plays, paintings, sculptures, and even books have been credited to the mystery and beauty that a woman can impart to an artist’s dry soul. While most women don’t aspire to be a muse, thanks to the feminist movement, the idea has been picked up in the sphere of fashion for the past few years. Some of the most beautiful women, from different ethnicities during the period of 1947 to 1997, have been featured in the latest conception of The Model as Muse at the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art (Marc Jacobs & Condé Nast), and in the book The Model as Muse: Embodying Fashion by Harold Koda and Kohle Yohannan, as well as at Costume Gala where even celebrities participated.
Victor Hugo, that beloved writer, had his own female muse for his inspiration, Adele Foucher. “Do I exist for my own happiness? No, my whole existence is devoted to her, even in spite of her. And by what right should I have dared to aspire to her love? What does it matter, so that it does not injure her happiness? My duty is to keep close to her steps, to surround her existencce with mine, to serve her as a barrier against all dangers; to offer my head as a stepping stone; to place myself unceasingly between her and all sorrows, without claiming reward, without expecting recompense. Alas! If she only allow me to give my life to anticipating her every desire, all her caprices; if she but permit me to kiss with respect her adored footprints; if she but consent to lean upon me at times amidst the difficulties of life.” (Victor Hugo)
Teddy Roosevelt and his wife, Alice, “Oh, how bewitchingly pretty she looked. If loving her with my whole heart and soul can make her happy, she shall be happy. The aim of my whole life shall be to make her happy and to shiled and guard her from every trial. And Oh, how I shall cherish my sweet queen!” and later he also wrote: “I am so happy that I hardly know what to do. My own beautiful queen is the same as ever and yet, with a certain added charm that I do not know how to describe. I cannot take my eyes off her. It seems almost profanation to touch her, no matter how gently and tenderly.”
President Woodrow Wilson, after being married to Ellen for 17 years wrote, “All that I am, all that has come to me in life, I owe to you…. I could not be what I am, if I did not take such serene happiness from my union with you. You are the spring of content; and so long as I have you, and you too are happy, nothing but good and power can come to me. Ah, my incomparable little wife, may God bless and keep you.”
And after being married 28 years: “I adore you! No President but myself ever had exactly the right sort of wife! I am certainly the most fortunate man alive.”
To be a woman who inspires and awakens a man’s innermost aspirations and longings is rare and beautiful. To the muse, the non-judgemental, encouraging and beautiful soul, thank you.
(Picture: Blake Lively at The Model as Muse Costume Gala)