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Artists Models

ARTISTS MODELS, the name given to persons who pose to artists as models for their work. The Greeks, who had the naked body constantly before them in the exercises of the gymnasium, had far less need of professional models than the moderns; but it is scarcely likely that they could have attained to the high level reached by their works without constant study from nature; and the story told of Zeuxis by Valerius Maximus, who had five of the most beautiful virgins of the city of Crotona offered him as models for his picture of Helen, proves their occasional use. The remark of Eupompus, quoted by Pliny, who advised Lysippus, " Let nature be your model, not an artist," directing his attention to the crowd instead of to his own work, also suggests a use of models which the many portrait statues of Greek and Roman times show to have been not unknown. In Egypt, too, although the priesthood had control of both sculpture and painting as used for the decoration of temples and palaces, and imposed a strict conventionalism, there are several statues of the early periods which are so lifelike in their treatment as to make it certain that they must have been worked from life. At the period of the Renaissance, painters generally made use of their relations and friends as models, of which many examples might be quoted from Venice, Florence, Rome and other places, and the stories of Titian and the duchess of Ferrara, and Botticelli and Simonetta Vespucci, go to show that ladies of exalted rank were sometimes not averse from having their charms immortalized by the painter's brush. But paid models were not unknown, as the story of the unfortunate contadino used by Sansovino as model for his statue of the little Bacchus will show. Artists' models as a special class appear when the establishment of schools for the study of the human figure created a regular demand, and since that time the remuneration offered has ensured a continual supply. The prices and the hours of work vary in different art centres. In England seven shillings is generally paid for a day of six hours, but models of exceptional beauty or talent frequently obtain more from successful artists or wealthy amateurs.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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