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The Muse / Real Life

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  • Surrealist artist Salvador Dalí obsessed over his wife, Gala, putting her either abstractly or more recognizably into nearly all of his paintings.
  • Beatrice to Dante Alighieri. Even after her death and he was married to someone else, he still wrote about her. He even went so far to make her the one responsible for the journey through the Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven in his masterpiece, The Divine Comedy.
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  • Laura to Petrarch.
  • Alma Mahler, to more than one man, most notably Gustav Mahler, Walter Gropius, and Franz Werfel. And one she never met.
  • Norwegian poet Henrik Wergeland combined four women in one muse. All four were girls he had pined for in his late teens and early twenties. The name of the muse was Stella. See all love is unrequited.
  • Monica Vitti to Michelangelo Antonioni
  • Marlene Dietrich to Joseph von Sternberg.
  • Regine Olsen to Søren Kierkegaard. Kierkegaard's failed relationship with her profoundly impacted his philosophical ideas.
  • Edie Sedgwick to Andy Warhol
    • See also Bob Dylan's entry below.
    • And don't forget Lou Reed with "All Tomorrow's Parties."
  • David Fincher to Brad Pitt, and vice versa.
  • June Miller to Henry Miller and Anais Nin
  • Jean Marais to his lover Jean Cocteau.
  • Eminem's ex-wife Kim Mathers was certainly a muse, but since he wrote about killing her she probably wished she wasn't.
  • Anita Pallenberg inspired The Rolling Stones songs "Wild Horses" and "You Got Silver", and "Angie" is rumored to be about her though others say it was about Angela Bowie.
    • Marianne Faithfull and Marsha Hunt were also Stones muses
    • Several of Bryan Ferry's songs both with Roxy Music and as a solo artist were about Jerry Hall, including at least one about her leaving him for Mick Jagger.
  • Nick Cave sought much creativity from Anita Lane during his tenure in The Birthday Party and throughout The Bad Seeds.
  • Rosanna Arquette inspired Rosanna by Toto and In Your Eyes by Peter Gabriel
  • Bob Dylan had several muses, including Edie Sedgwick (about whom he wrote "Like a Rolling Stone" and "Just Like a Woman"), Joan Baez, Suze Rotolo, and Sara Lowndes (about whom he wrote not one but two whole albums, including the incredibly heartfelt and desperate song "Sara", from Desire).
    • It should be noted that "Like a Rolling Stone" has been discussed to no end, and to this day there are many likely candidates as to who inspired Dylan to write it.
    • Considering the brutal Take That! which these and "Positively 4th Street" are, some of them also probably would rather not to have been Dylan's muse.
    • In her tune, Baez wrote "Diamonds and Rust" about Dylan. She describes him is a bit of a jerk though...
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  • Roy Orbison's wife Claudette inspired the songs "Claudette" and "Pretty Woman".
  • The Suede song "Animal Lover" and the Blur album 13 were both inspired by Justine Frischman.
  • Pattie Boyd was a muse to George Harrison ("Something") and Eric Clapton ("Wonderful Tonight").
    • She was a muse for Clapton while she was still married to his good friend Harrison. (''Layla'')
  • Joni Mitchell was an accomplished songwriter in her own right, but served as muse for other musicians like Graham Nash ("Our House", which he wrote while the two were living together) and Led Zeppelin ("Going to California").
  • Woody Allen has had a few, especially Diane Keaton, Mia Farrow and Scarlett Johansson.
  • Gong Li to Zhang Yimou.
  • Maggie Cheung to Olivier Assayas.
  • Fanny Brawne to John Keats.
  • Pedro Almodóvar has Carmen Maura and Penélope Cruz (putting them together for arguably his best film, Volver), but there is no romantic involvement whatsoever, seeing as he's gay.
  • Frances McDormand to (her husband) Joel Coen
  • Gender Flip: Tom LeFroy to Jane Austen. He was partially the inspiration for Mr. Darcy.
  • Quentin Tarantino refers to Uma Thurman as his muse, but their relationship is "strictly platonic."
  • Joey Lauren Adams to Kevin Smith.
  • Sarah Brightman to Andrew Lloyd Webber
  • Tim Burton and Lisa Marie... and Helena Bonham Carter. And Johnny Depp. And Vincent Price.
  • Peter Pears to Benjamin Britten.
  • Curt Smith to Roland Orzabal, both members of Tears for Fears. Orzabal, while discussing how he and Smith work together to write music, referred to Curt as his: "He's always been my muse." Smith has truly been a lifelong inspiration to Orzabal because their friendship and musical partnership began when they were both 13 years old. During their first meeting, Roland heard Curt singing to Blue Öyster Cult's "Then Came the Last Days of May", and the former was so impressed that he immediately asked the latter if he wanted to be the lead singer of his band. (This is the exact moment when the artist discovers his muse.) Curt replied yes, and the rest is history.
    • Intriguingly, even after Smith's departure from the group due to the Muse Abuse he experienced, Orzabal's creativity continued to be fueled by his absent muse.
      Orzabal: But really, I never stopped writing for him. It would have been very easy to get Curt in on Elemental and sing those songs. They were built for him. I hadn't stopped writing for his voice. I was just singing them myself.
  • Alfred Hitchcock considered Grace Kelly to be his muse.
  • Milla Jovovich to Luc Besson until they divorced. Since then she has become Paul W.S. Anderson's muse in the Resident Evil Film Series.
  • The lead singer for The Knack, Doug Fieger, fell for a then-17-year-old Sharona Alperin and wrote the band's biggest and only hit "My Sharona" in her honor. She even graced the single's cover shot.
  • Rihanna to Drake, who wrote several songs ("Firework", "Take Care" and possibly "Made Man") based on their relationship and frequently collaborate with her.
  • Stan Lee's wife Joanie was widely regarded as his muse. She made appearances alongside Stan in both animated and live-action Marvel adaptations, most notably as Madame Web in Spider-Man: The Animated Series and a posthumous appearance in Avengers: Endgame.
  • Carly Simon wrote "You're So Vain" as a friendly-yet-jabbing aside about a self-absorbed lover that is a composite of three men Carly befriended: the only thing we know for certain is that one of them is Warren Beatty, and that Mick Jagger is not one of them.
  • Ethan Hawke to Richard Linklater.
  • The LFO song "Girl on TV" was written by Rich Cronin after he started dating Jennifer Love Hewitt, and the song is about falling in love with a movie star. Jennifer Love Hewitt then starred in the accompanying music video.
  • Anna May Wong was an inspiration to many writers. Eight Poems of Li Po was written in her honor by Constant Lambert. She inspired "These Foolish Things (Remind Me of You)" as well. The lead role in Daughter of Shanghai was written for her, and the film's working title was The Anna May Wong Story.
  • Bobby Calloway wrote The Gumdrops specifically for Rebecca Rose Flynn, and some of the scripts would have the stage direction 'Rebecca will make it funny'. Likewise the film Aaron was created entirely for Thomas Fitzgerald, and he says it wouldn't have been made if he hadn't played the role.
  • German director Rainer Werner Fassbinder had a muse in actress Hanna Schygulla.
  • Selena Gomez's on-and-off exboyfriend Justin Bieber is a frequent inspiration for her songs, most notably on Rare. She herself is speculated to be the inspiration for several song of her ex-boyfriend The Weeknd My Dear Melancholy.
  • Fashion Designer Yves Saint Laurent had many muses throughout his career, including Catherine Deneuve, Victoire Doutreleau, Betty Catroux, Talitha Pol Getty and Loulou de la Falaise. The films about his life, Yves Saint Laurent and Saint Laurent, portray some of these relationships, often as nonsexual romances or at the least very intense friendships.
  • No one is certain who the model who posed as Venus for The Birth of Venus was, but most take a guess that she was Simonetta Vespucci, wife of Marco Vespucci, a locally famous beauty and one of Sandro Botticelli's recurring models.