Throughout history, artists have been inspired by the presence of certain other people in their lives that motivated them to create their best work. The source of inspiration could be a man, a woman, or even a pet, but it is almost always a being that also possesses great talent and an expressive imagination. From the model for Édouard Manet’s Olympia and Pablo Picasso’s mistress in the heyday of surrealism to Francis Bacon’s drunken pal and David LaChapelle’s doll-face girlfriend, we’ve uncovered the most influential muses of modern times. Click through our choices and let us know who would be on your list.
Édouard Manet’s painting Olympia (1863) caused a scandal when it was first exhibited at the 1865 Salon in Paris. Manet painted his muse Victorine Meurent, an artist and popular model of the day, as a prostitute with her maid. Manet featured Meurent in many of his paintings, including his equally famous masterpiece, Le Déjeuner sur l’Herbe (The Picnic,) which also portrayed her in the nude, although outdoors.