#muse #patron #art, #Tchaikovsky #music, #William Blake, #poetry, #painting.
Where is my patron? Where goes my muse?
How many times has an artist cried out, “If only I had a patron, I would not have to starve, but could dedicate my life to my art with some degree of comfort.”
So goes the litany of complaints about commissioned works vs. creative freedom. Ah yes the muse! You must be faithful although he/she/it may be fickle! Such a strange and potent relationship the artist has with the muse.
The composer, Tchaikovsky, spoke and wrote about the conflict between creativity and production of a work of art “on demand” to the patron’s requirements.
He wrote to his patron that he could not produce the work because he had no inspiration and would be guilty of artistic dishonesty to do so just to improve his pecuniary situation.
The patron told Tchaikovsky that, since he adored his work, he was only thinking of his own needs in commissioning the work. “I want to keep you for the service of art,” he concluded. If you’d like to read more on this topic, here is the article by Maria Popova [Brain Pickings.] who has inspired me to write this.
The poet and painter, William Blake, was a great visionary artist. That is, he frequently experienced actual visions which inspired his art. You can imagine his reaction when taken to task for not producing what the patron wanted.
When asked to produce a series of moralistically themed artworks intended to illustrate certain writings on subjects such as malevolence, benevolence, pride, and humility, he did so. But Blake’s work was far too “visionary” for the patron’s taste and his complaints were long and loud. Blake maintained that, to resolve such a conflict, the artist would have to betray his muse. It did not end well. More on the topic can be found at Brain Pickings right here.
I’ve always been intrigued by the concept of the muse. Each artist must have his or her own idea of a muse. What could be more personal than what inspires you to create? Every artist must work out the relationship with the muse each and every day—a sort of battle to be fought and won every day.
And so, I’ve mulled over lots of questions about muses—how to court them, how to interpret them, how to share them—and on and on. Usually, I have my landscape painter, Alexander Wainwright, star of The Trilogy of Remembrance, tackle problems with muses in the three novels, The Drawing Lesson, The Fate of Pryde and Night Crossing.
But let me explain some background. The first blog is written by James Helmsworth [fictional character and narrator of The Trilogy of Remembrance]. In the story, he is Alexander Wainwright’s [the artist] art dealer and good friend. In this post he tells a story about Alex and his relationship with his muse and his lover Daphne. [It’s complicated].The Reluctant Muse
But let’s not forget Alex’s very first muse whom you meet in the first novel, The Drawing Lesson—Maggie. Here she describes her very first meeting with Alexander Wainwright in a drawing class. He was most definitely her muse and she indeed was his. Mutual musedom! Maggie ~the First Muse.
Mary E. Martin is the author of two trilogies: The Osgoode Trilogy, inspired by her many years of law practice; and The Trilogy of Remembrance, set in the glitter and shadows of the art world. Both Trilogies will elevate the reader from the rush and hectic world of today and spin them into realms of yet unimagined intrigue. Be inspired by the newly released and final installment of The Trilogy of Remembrance, Night Crossing.
The Joseph Campbell Foundation has just recently selected the novels of The Trilogy of Remembrance [The Drawing Lesson, The Fate of Pryde and Night Crossing] along with the works of fifteen other authors as novels with mythic themes. I am honoured to be included along with Margaret Atwood, Neil Gaiman, J.R.R. Tolkein and James Joyce in this group. You can find the Joseph Campbell Foundation Amazon page right here
If you’d like to look at all the novels from The Osgoode Trilogy and The Trilogy of Remembrance, just click here for all of them on Amazon.
I love to hear from you anytime, so please leave a comment below. I always write back.