The muse is what inspires an artist. The notion comes from Greek mythology, where the Muses were deities that inhabited the Parnassus or in the Helicon and protected the Arts and the Sciences.
Although their genealogy varies according to the source, it is usually considered that the muses were daughters of Zeus Y Mnemosyne, born at the foot of Mount Olympus, in Pieria. The number of muses is also not precise, although there are nine canonical muses: Calliope, Clio, Erato, Euterpe, Melpomene, Polyymnia, Thalia, Terpsicore Y Urania.
Specifically, in Ancient Greece it was considered that there were nine muses that were called canonical muses. These were the following:
Clio, muse of History.
Euterpe, muse of Music.
Polymnia, muse of sacred songs.
Terpsichore, muse of Choral Dance and Poetry.
Calliope, muse of beauty.
Erato, muse of the love song.
Melpomene, muse of Tragedy.
Talía, muse of Comedy.
Urania, muse of Astronomy.
However, one more figure should be added to all of them. We are referring to Sappho of Lesbos, who was considered by the Greek philosopher Plato as the tenth muse. Sappho we can say that she was a poet who achieved an important role in the literature of the moment thanks to her poems of love content.
It should also be noted that there is the expression “student of the muses” that is used to refer to poets.
The poets of antiquity believed that the muses presented to them the events that they would later relate in their poems. That is why they did not hesitate to invoke the muses, since they considered that their power would inspire them in their literary works.
Over time, the Muses were no longer believed as deities or beings with real existence (and, therefore, invocations became rare). In any case, the notion of muse still makes it possible to refer to those mysterious questions of inspiration that cannot be explained precisely.
A muse can be, on the other hand, a person, an object or a situation that encourages artistic creation. A beautiful woman manages to become the muse of a poet without this implying a divine or supernatural origin of the person in question. It is simply about someone who arouses passions in the artist, who decides to capture these emotions through his creations. The muse, therefore, promotes artistic creation.
Many are the artists who throughout history have made it clear who their muses were. This would be the case of the painter Salvador Dalí who has been known, among other things, for having his own wife as his muse: Gala. Although not only for him this woman acted as such, she was also the muse of other important figures of the 20th century such as André Breton or Louis Aragón.
Among the most significant works that the Catalan painter Dalí made, inspired by his wife, we can highlight the sculpture of “Gala leaning out of the window” or the painting “Gala naked looking at the sea”.