I don't know about you, but I have always wondered how the models painted in world-famous portraits looked like in real life, did they look anything like the paintings they inspired? Luckily, photography has been around for quite a while, and we figured it would be fun to compare a few world-renowned portraits with photos of their muses. We won't spoil the fun for you, but we will point out that, in most cases, the artist's imagination and creative genius definitely manages to highlight the best features of their model. Now it's your turn to compare the painting with the "original", as well as learn about the models themselves and their relationship with the artists.
A fashion designer who was way ahead of her time, Emilie Louise Flöge was Gustav Klimt's life-long inspiration and partner until Klimt’s death in 1918. Her creative clothing designs and unusual pattern combinations are featured in many of the artist's works.
Jeanne Samary inspired four of Auguste Renoir's paintings, with one of the most famous ones being La Rêverie (1877) pictured on the right. Jeanne was a French actress at the Comédie-Française.
Often called "the Pre-Raphaelite ideal of beauty", Jane Morris was an embroiderer and wife of famous painter, poet, and textile designer William Morris. Below is a portrait of Jane by Dante Gabriel Rossetti titled Proserpine (1874), one of the most iconic paintings of the era.
Believe it or not, the author of the painting below is famed cubist Pablo Picasso. In the picture, you can see Olga Khokhlova, the painter's first wife and one of the first muses of the great artist to whom he stayed married for 17 years. The painting below is an early painting, and it would be difficult to recognize Olga in his cubist works.
Jeanne Hébuterne is definitely Modigliani's greatest muse, with the artist reportedly creating over 25 portraits of her. Jeanne was the famous painter's wife and a fellow painter.
Yet another Pre-Raphaelite inspiration was influential artist and poet Elizabeth Siddal, Dante Gabriel Rossetti's wife. She was frequently portrayed in Pre-Raphaelite paintings by various artists, and Rosetti's work below is one of the most notable examples.
Suzanne Valadon was a French painter and model of many Impressionist and Post-Impressionist artists, such as Renoir and Toulouse-Lautrec. Below you can see her portrait by Pierre-Auguste Renoir titled Girl Braiding Her Hair (1885).
Although Victorine Meurent is most known today for being Édouard Manet's muse, she was a distinguished painter in her own right. She also modeled for Edgar Degas and Alfred Stevens, although Manet's 2 works portraying her nude like Olympia (1863) (right) are definitely the most famous and scandalous ones.
Jane Avril was a French can-can dancer and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec's inspiration, for which she is most famous today. Her cabaret-style performances were very famous all across Europe at the time and she frequently performed the opening act at the famous Moulin Rouge nightclub.
Camille Claudel was August Rodin's model, lover, and student. Camille wasn't famous for her sculptures during her lifetime, but her sculptures are distinguished today as being very original and precise.
Bella Rosenfeld was a writer and Marc Chagall's first wife, most famously portrayed in the painting Bella with White Collar (1917), which can be seen below.
The last muse on this list is Sarah Bernhardt portrayed below by famous painter and illustrator Alphonse Mucha. Sarah was a real star at the time, playing lead roles in the most renowned French plays of the time.