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Quiz about 15 Real Life Muses
Quiz about 15 Real Life Muses

15 Real Life Muses Trivia Quiz


The nine Muses of Greek mythology inspired artists, musicians, poets, and writers. These 15 real-life women provided similar inspiration to the men in their lives. Enjoy!

A multiple-choice quiz by jouen58. Estimated time: 9 mins.
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Author
jouen58
Time
9 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
142,382
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
15
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
10 / 15
Plays
3128
Awards
Top 5% quiz!
Last 3 plays: Guest 202 (9/15), Guest 65 (11/15), Guest 107 (8/15).
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Question 1 of 15
1. It seems fitting that we begin in Greece, home of the mythical Muses. The Greek courtesan Phryne (Mnesarete) was apparently one of the most beautiful women of all time. On trial for her life at one point for profaning the Eleusinian mysteries, her lawyer won her case by tearing open her robe and exposing her breasts to the jury. She inspired not one, but two great artists of her time- the painter Apelles and the sculptor Praxiteles, to portray her as this Greek goddess. Hint


Question 2 of 15
2. Beatrice Portinari is probably the most famous literary innamorata of all time. Which great Italian poet, who first met her in Florence when he was nine years old, did she unwittingly inspire? Hint


Question 3 of 15
3. Some have speculated that this woman may have been entirely fictional, others that she was the 19 year-old wife of Hugues de Sade (hopefully not an ancestor of the famous Marquis). Fictional or not, all we know of her is that her name was Laura and that she was the beloved ideal of this Italian poet. Hint


Question 4 of 15
4. Simonetta Catteano died tragically at the tender age of 20 in 1476. She had been the child bride of the nobleman Marco Vespucci, but her beauty attracted the attention of others, including the men of the great Medici family. Giuliano Medici commissioned a famous Italian painter to paint her likeness on a banner he would use in a joust. Her innocent, fresh beauty haunted the artist who, ten years after her death, would immortalize her in his famous painting of Venus and as the central figure in his "Primavera". He would portray her a second time as Venus, this time in the company of her husband Mars, and would also portray her as the Madonna in several paintings. Which artist was he? Hint


Question 5 of 15
5. This Italian noblewoman, the subject of possibly the most famous painting in history, was the wife of Florentine merchant Francesco Gioconda, who commissioned one of the greatest Italian artists of the time to paint her portrait. According to legend, the lady in question was mourning the recent death of a child during her sittings. To get her to smile, clowns were hired to entertain her, but the best they could produce was the pensive, enigmatic smile which has intrigued people who have viewed her portrait ever since. What artist did she sit for? Hint


Question 6 of 15
6. Hendrickje Stoeffels was not a classic beauty. She entered the household of Holland's most celebrated painter as a servant and housekeeper. The artist, whose wife had died four years earlier of tuberculosis, had left him alone with a son. Hendrickje took care of the little boy and ran her master's household quite efficiently. Eventually, they became lovers, but he could not marry her without losing the income from his late wife's estate. When she bore him a daughter, he made a legal arrangement with her and they continued to live as common-law husband and wife until she tragically died, also of tuberculosis, in 1667. Her artist-lover portrayed her as Bathsheba, as the goddesses Juno and Flora, and in the memorable "A Woman Bathing". Which artist was he? Hint


Question 7 of 15
7. Cayetana, the Duchess d'Alba, was a wealthy socialite in 18th century Spain. Although married, she had numerous lovers, including this legendary Spanish painter who immortalized her in the twin paintings "La Maja Vestida" and "La Maja Desnuda" ("Naked Maja" and "Clothed Maja"), both of which currently hang in the Prado, as well as a formal portrait which hangs in the New York Museum. Who was her famous artist-lover? Hint


Question 8 of 15
8. Although it is impossible to know for sure the true identity of this legendary German composer's "Immortal Beloved", some believe the singer Amalie Sebald to be the likeliest candidate. Hint


Question 9 of 15
9. Marie Alphonsine du Plessis ran away from a life of wretched poverty determined to live the good life in Paris. As one of Paris' leading courtesans, she was the innamorata of a number of prominent men, notably the composer Franz Liszt and this young French author, whose career has been overshadowed by that of his more celebrated father. Marie's life and early death from consumption were immortalized in his novel "La Dame aux Camellias", which later became a play and, still later, the opera "La Traviata" by Giuseppe Verdi. Who was the love-struck young author? Hint


Question 10 of 15
10. Lady Jane Ellenborough, whose list of lovers included King Louis I of Bavaria and his son, King Otto of Greece, had already achieved fame and notoriety in her own right before this great French novelist, yet another of her conquests, immortalized her as the adventuress Lady Arabella Dudley in his novel "La Comedie Humaine". Hint


Question 11 of 15
11. Harriet Smithson was an Irish-born actress. While on tour with an English Shakespearean company, she became the object of this French composer's romantic obsession when he saw her as Ophelia. She was initially, and understandably, quite alarmed at the violence of his ardor (he once threatened to swallow poison if she would not marry him) but she eventually accepted his proposal. The result was one of the more disastrous chapters in the history of matrimony. Which composer was Harriet's suitor and eventual husband? Hint


Question 12 of 15
12. Virginia Clemm, the child bride of this celebrated American author and poet was also his cousin. They married when she was fourteen and he was twenty-six, but are believed not to have had sexual relations until she was sixteen. Their marriage lasted just over ten years before Virginia succumbed to tuberculosis in 1847. After her death, her distraught husband memorialized her in some of his most memorable poems. Who was he? Hint


Question 13 of 15
13. Neither the frail, consumptive Virginia nor the similarly delicate Marie Duplessis would have appealed to this French impressionist artist, who resembled his predecessor Rubens in his prediliction for healthy, cushiony women. He first fell in love with his future wife, the plump, fair-skinned, strawberry-blonde Alice Charigat, while observing her put away a dish of beans cooked with bacon; his first depiction of her is in "The Luncheon of the Boating Party". In this remarkable painting, nearly everyone seems to be gazing longingly at someone who's attention, in turn, is absorbed by someone else. All except Alice; her attention is devoted entirely to her little grey terrier. After their marriage, her artist husband depicted her as an ample nursing mother, suckling a plump baby boy in "Maternity" (a.k.a. "Feeding"). Who was Alice's artist husband? Hint


Question 14 of 15
14. Our next muse is somewhat off the beaten path. The former Anna Matilda Mc Neill was twenty years old when she fell in love with a dashing young army cadet. She was heartbroken when he fell in love with, and married, her pretty, vivacious friend Mary Swift. A magnamonous person, she remained friends with Mary and was genuinely devastated by her untimely death seven years later. Aware of Anna's feelings for her husband, Mary suggested on her deathbed that, if he married again, it should be to Anna. Some years later, he and Anna did marry and she bore him five sons, the oldest of whom displayed a marked artistic talent which Anna encouraged. He became one of America's most celebrated artists, his best known work (and one of the most recognizable paintings in history) being a portrait of Anna herself which currently hangs in the Musee d'Orsay in Paris. Hint


Question 15 of 15
15. When farm girl Marie Prin came to Paris in 1924, her unspoiled beauty and voluptous figure caught the eye of sculptor Moise Kisling, who made the sixteen year-old his model. Other great artists followed suit and soon Kiki, as she became known, modeled for such artists as Utrillo, Soutine, and Toulouse Lautrec. At the height of her carreer, she became known as the Venus of Montparnasse. Perhaps the best-known image of her is the photogaph "Le Violon D'Ingres" which depicts her nude back as a violin. This remarkable photograph, as well as others of "Kiki", was taken by a famous 20th century artist-photographer with which she had a six year romance. Who was he? Hint



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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. It seems fitting that we begin in Greece, home of the mythical Muses. The Greek courtesan Phryne (Mnesarete) was apparently one of the most beautiful women of all time. On trial for her life at one point for profaning the Eleusinian mysteries, her lawyer won her case by tearing open her robe and exposing her breasts to the jury. She inspired not one, but two great artists of her time- the painter Apelles and the sculptor Praxiteles, to portray her as this Greek goddess.

Answer: Aphrodite

Phryne had acquired so much wealth throughout her career that she was able to pay to have the walls of Thebes rebuilt after their destruction by Alexander the Great. She made only one condition: that an inscription be placed on the wall reading "Destroyed by Alexander, restored by Phryne, the prostitute". Apelles was inspired to paint his "Aphrodite Anadyomene" (a forerunner to Botticelli's "Birth of Venus") when he saw her, during the festival of Poseiden at Eleusis, lay aside her garments and walk into the sea.

She sat for Apelles painting and is believed to have been the model for Praxiteles' "Cnydian Aphrodite". The latter stood along side of Praxiteles' sculpture of Phryne at the temple at Thespiae.
2. Beatrice Portinari is probably the most famous literary innamorata of all time. Which great Italian poet, who first met her in Florence when he was nine years old, did she unwittingly inspire?

Answer: Dante Alighieri

The question of Beatrice's identity is the subject of much speculation. It seem's likely that she and Dante never really knew each other and it has been speculated that she may not even have existed outside of Dante's imagination. Dante's first sonnet is dedicated to her and she appears in his "Vita Nuova" and "Divina Commedia", in "Paradiso" of course, where she takes the place of Virgil as his guide and promises to be his mediatrix in heaven.
3. Some have speculated that this woman may have been entirely fictional, others that she was the 19 year-old wife of Hugues de Sade (hopefully not an ancestor of the famous Marquis). Fictional or not, all we know of her is that her name was Laura and that she was the beloved ideal of this Italian poet.

Answer: Petrarch

Petrarch is believed to have met Laura in Avignon at the church of St. Claire in 1327 and suffered from unrequited love for her for twenty years, until her death, ten years before his own. As with Dante and Beatrice, it is entirely possible that no relationship developed (especially as Laura was married), but Petrarch may have been inspired by her beauty and envisioned her as an ethereal innamorata.

She inspired many of Petrarch's sonnets and his "Canzonieri" ("Songs"). In the poem "To Laura in Death", he penned the immortal line "To be able to say how much you love is to love but little."
4. Simonetta Catteano died tragically at the tender age of 20 in 1476. She had been the child bride of the nobleman Marco Vespucci, but her beauty attracted the attention of others, including the men of the great Medici family. Giuliano Medici commissioned a famous Italian painter to paint her likeness on a banner he would use in a joust. Her innocent, fresh beauty haunted the artist who, ten years after her death, would immortalize her in his famous painting of Venus and as the central figure in his "Primavera". He would portray her a second time as Venus, this time in the company of her husband Mars, and would also portray her as the Madonna in several paintings. Which artist was he?

Answer: Sandro Botticelli

"The Birth of Venus" was painted for the villa of Lorenzo di Medici in 1486 and immortalized Simonetta's beautiful face for the ages along with several Madonnas, notably the "Madonna of the Magnificat" in which she is depicted being crowned with stars.
5. This Italian noblewoman, the subject of possibly the most famous painting in history, was the wife of Florentine merchant Francesco Gioconda, who commissioned one of the greatest Italian artists of the time to paint her portrait. According to legend, the lady in question was mourning the recent death of a child during her sittings. To get her to smile, clowns were hired to entertain her, but the best they could produce was the pensive, enigmatic smile which has intrigued people who have viewed her portrait ever since. What artist did she sit for?

Answer: Leonardo da Vinci

The "Mona Lisa", undoubtedly da Vinci's best-known painting along with "The Last Supper", took him an eternity to finish due to his inability to concentrate solely on his painting. He kept abandoning his work to dabble in his various inventions, astronomical studies, and scientific work. Eventually, Francisco Gioconda lost patience with the artist, ended his wife's sittings, and refused to pay for the still-unfinished painting.

When it was finally completed, da Vinci sold it to King Francois I of France for the equivalent of $50,000 (not a bad deal!).

It currently hangs in the Louvre.
6. Hendrickje Stoeffels was not a classic beauty. She entered the household of Holland's most celebrated painter as a servant and housekeeper. The artist, whose wife had died four years earlier of tuberculosis, had left him alone with a son. Hendrickje took care of the little boy and ran her master's household quite efficiently. Eventually, they became lovers, but he could not marry her without losing the income from his late wife's estate. When she bore him a daughter, he made a legal arrangement with her and they continued to live as common-law husband and wife until she tragically died, also of tuberculosis, in 1667. Her artist-lover portrayed her as Bathsheba, as the goddesses Juno and Flora, and in the memorable "A Woman Bathing". Which artist was he?

Answer: Rembrandt van Rijn

Hendrickje bore Rembrandt a daughter, Cornelia, who would survive her father. In addition to the deaths of Saskia and Hendrickje, Rembrandt would suffer the loss of his son Titus to a plague epidemic in 1668.
7. Cayetana, the Duchess d'Alba, was a wealthy socialite in 18th century Spain. Although married, she had numerous lovers, including this legendary Spanish painter who immortalized her in the twin paintings "La Maja Vestida" and "La Maja Desnuda" ("Naked Maja" and "Clothed Maja"), both of which currently hang in the Prado, as well as a formal portrait which hangs in the New York Museum. Who was her famous artist-lover?

Answer: Francisco Goya

The Duchess' affair with the artist was complicated by the fact that he was himself married and the father of 20 children. However he followed her into exile when she was sent abroad by orders of the queen of Spain. The Duchess is said to have poisoned her husband and, in turn, to have been poisoned herself by order of the queen.
8. Although it is impossible to know for sure the true identity of this legendary German composer's "Immortal Beloved", some believe the singer Amalie Sebald to be the likeliest candidate.

Answer: Ludwig van Beethoven

Beethoven was a famously difficult man and was entirely absorbed in his work. There was a certain self-defeating pattern to his infatuations, they were usually with women who were either married, of higher social status than himself, or simply not interested in him. If, however, Amalie was indeed his "Immortal beloved", there does not appear to be any reason for their relationship not to have been realized. Whoever the "Immortal beloved" was, she was the subject of a strikingly tender love letter from the composer and may have been the inspiration for the song cycle "An Die Ferne Geliebte" ("To the Distant Beloved"), among other works.

The story was the basis of the 1995 film "Immortal Beloved", starring Gary Oldman as Beethoven.
9. Marie Alphonsine du Plessis ran away from a life of wretched poverty determined to live the good life in Paris. As one of Paris' leading courtesans, she was the innamorata of a number of prominent men, notably the composer Franz Liszt and this young French author, whose career has been overshadowed by that of his more celebrated father. Marie's life and early death from consumption were immortalized in his novel "La Dame aux Camellias", which later became a play and, still later, the opera "La Traviata" by Giuseppe Verdi. Who was the love-struck young author?

Answer: Alexandre Dumas fils

Marie succumbed to tuberculosis in 1847 at the tender age of 23. Unlike the rather sentimentalized image of her created by Dumas fils, she appears to have been generally incapable of genuine, lasting love. She is quoted as having said "I love camellias because they have no scent and rich men because they have no heart." Ironically, although Dumas idolized her, it was Franz Liszt who appears to have come closest to having engaged her emotions and she seems to have seriously considered marrying him.

However, she could never overcome her addiction to pleasure enough to settle down.
10. Lady Jane Ellenborough, whose list of lovers included King Louis I of Bavaria and his son, King Otto of Greece, had already achieved fame and notoriety in her own right before this great French novelist, yet another of her conquests, immortalized her as the adventuress Lady Arabella Dudley in his novel "La Comedie Humaine".

Answer: Honore de Balzac

Lady Jane was the wife of Lord Ellenborough, Britain's Lord of the Privy Seal. In 1829, she ran away from her much older husband (she was 22 at the time) to join her lover Prince Felix Schwarzenburg of Austria in Paris. Her husband had filed for divorce in March of that year and it had been granted in April.

She became pregnant by Schwarzenburg, but he abandoned her for another woman shortly before she gave birth. Through a mutual frend, she met Balzac and a brief, unlikely affair blossomed between the reviled, lonely beauty and the short, corpulent, unprepossessing- but brilliant- author.

A workaholic, Balzac was not able to devote the attention to Lady Jane that she so desperately needed, and they parted. He immortalized her as Lady Arabella, who has been described as "the most erotic heroine in the whole 'Comedie Humaine'". Lady Jane seems never to have slowed down; in later years, to the scandal of her friends, she married a bedouin chief. An entry in her diary when she was seventy-three reads "It is now a month and twenty days since Medjuel last slept with me. What can be the reason?".

She died in 1881, survived by Medjuel who buried her under an inscription from the Qu'ran.
11. Harriet Smithson was an Irish-born actress. While on tour with an English Shakespearean company, she became the object of this French composer's romantic obsession when he saw her as Ophelia. She was initially, and understandably, quite alarmed at the violence of his ardor (he once threatened to swallow poison if she would not marry him) but she eventually accepted his proposal. The result was one of the more disastrous chapters in the history of matrimony. Which composer was Harriet's suitor and eventual husband?

Answer: Hector Berlioz

Harriet's acting was actually not though of very highly by the theatrical company she appeared with; she was allowed to go on as Ophelia because the leading actor thought it a "nothing role". Her performance proved unexpectedly radiant and thoroughly captivated, among others, the high-strung and neurotic Berlioz.

He subsequently wrote two quite different works inspired by her; a group of Irish songs (in honor of her country of birth) and the celebrated "Symphonie Fantastique", based on an opium-induced fantasy, in which he surprisingly (and, as it turns out, prophetically) identifies her as both his beloved and his demon. Berlioz abandoned his pursuit of Harriet briefly to pursue one Camille Moke, to whom he actually became engaged, but this relationship ended after an episode in which he attempted to kill himself and then Camille (Berlioz, let's face it, had issues).

He eventually reconnoitered with Harriet and they wed in 1833. The first years of the marriage actually appear to have been quite happy, especially after the birth of a son, Louis. Soon after, however, Harriet began showing signs of both highly neurotic behavior and alcoholism, which would dog the remainder of her life (to be fair, marriage to Berlioz couldn't have been easy).

The couple separated several times and, in the 1840's, became completely estranged. Berlioz took up with a singer named Marie Recio, who proved a loving and stable companion, but a mediocre singer. In spite of all this, Berlioz was attentive to Harriet in her final illness (she suffered a series of strokes in 1853-54) until her death in 1855. He would endure the additional loss of both Marie and, worst of all, his son Louis (in a yellow fever epidemic) before his own death at 65 in March, 1869.
12. Virginia Clemm, the child bride of this celebrated American author and poet was also his cousin. They married when she was fourteen and he was twenty-six, but are believed not to have had sexual relations until she was sixteen. Their marriage lasted just over ten years before Virginia succumbed to tuberculosis in 1847. After her death, her distraught husband memorialized her in some of his most memorable poems. Who was he?

Answer: Edgar Allan Poe

Poe had become a member of the Clemm household, headed by Virginia's mother Maria Clemm, in 1829 when Virginia was seven. The household included Virginia's brother Henry (who also suffered from tuberculosis), Edgar's alcoholic brother William, and their invalid grandmother. Though the family lived in wretched poverty and was wildly dysfunctional, it was the most stable environment Poe had known.

After their marriage, Poe educated Virginia in classic literature and mathematics; she also studied singing.

It was while engaged in the latter activity that she began coughing up blood. Poe had had other relationships with women, and would have more after his wife's death, but it was the innocent Virginia who would remain his ideal. He memorialized her in the poems "Annabel Lee", "To Leonore", "The Raven", and "Ulalume" and her ghost haunts some of his short stories as well, notably "Ligeia", "The Fall of the House of Usher", "The Oblong Box", and "The Oval Portrait".
13. Neither the frail, consumptive Virginia nor the similarly delicate Marie Duplessis would have appealed to this French impressionist artist, who resembled his predecessor Rubens in his prediliction for healthy, cushiony women. He first fell in love with his future wife, the plump, fair-skinned, strawberry-blonde Alice Charigat, while observing her put away a dish of beans cooked with bacon; his first depiction of her is in "The Luncheon of the Boating Party". In this remarkable painting, nearly everyone seems to be gazing longingly at someone who's attention, in turn, is absorbed by someone else. All except Alice; her attention is devoted entirely to her little grey terrier. After their marriage, her artist husband depicted her as an ample nursing mother, suckling a plump baby boy in "Maternity" (a.k.a. "Feeding"). Who was Alice's artist husband?

Answer: Pierre Auguste Renoir

Renoir and Alice were married not long after he completed "The Luncheon of the Boating Party" and she bore him three sons, Pierre, Jean, and Claude. The marriage appears to have been a quite happy one and Renoir was devastated by her death in 1911, after she had completed an exhausting journey to visit their wounded son during WWI. Renoir was also inspired by Alice's cousin, the darkly beautiful Gabrielle, who joined the household as a servant.

The frankly erotic nature of his paintings of Gabrielle have aroused speculation of an affair, but his biographers insist that this was not the case (Renoir, like many artists of his time, made many such paintings of a variety of young women). Crippled by arthritis and asthma in his last years, Renoir joined his beloved Alice in 1919.
14. Our next muse is somewhat off the beaten path. The former Anna Matilda Mc Neill was twenty years old when she fell in love with a dashing young army cadet. She was heartbroken when he fell in love with, and married, her pretty, vivacious friend Mary Swift. A magnamonous person, she remained friends with Mary and was genuinely devastated by her untimely death seven years later. Aware of Anna's feelings for her husband, Mary suggested on her deathbed that, if he married again, it should be to Anna. Some years later, he and Anna did marry and she bore him five sons, the oldest of whom displayed a marked artistic talent which Anna encouraged. He became one of America's most celebrated artists, his best known work (and one of the most recognizable paintings in history) being a portrait of Anna herself which currently hangs in the Musee d'Orsay in Paris.

Answer: James M. Whistler

Anna, whose husband Lt. George Washington Whistler had died in 1849, lived with Whistler at his studio in England, where she oversaw the servants and ran the household. As befits a true muse, she had an adoring circle of admirers in Whistler's circle of friends, which included the poet Algernon Swinburne.

The famous portrait known as "Arrangement in Gray and Black No.1; Portrait of the Artist's Mother" was originally to have been a standing portrait, but Anna found it tiring to stand for long periods and Whistler, concerned for her health, let her sit down and painted her in profile. Anna inspired other paintings beside her celebrated portrait; occasionally, on walks or boating trips, she would point out a vista particularly suitable for painting. Whistler always greatly admired his mother (he exchanged his original middle name, Abbott, for her maiden name McNeill) and was grief-stricken when she died in 1881 at seventy-seven.

In 1934, "Whistler's Mother" adorned a postage stamp created in honor of Mother's Day
15. When farm girl Marie Prin came to Paris in 1924, her unspoiled beauty and voluptous figure caught the eye of sculptor Moise Kisling, who made the sixteen year-old his model. Other great artists followed suit and soon Kiki, as she became known, modeled for such artists as Utrillo, Soutine, and Toulouse Lautrec. At the height of her carreer, she became known as the Venus of Montparnasse. Perhaps the best-known image of her is the photogaph "Le Violon D'Ingres" which depicts her nude back as a violin. This remarkable photograph, as well as others of "Kiki", was taken by a famous 20th century artist-photographer with which she had a six year romance. Who was he?

Answer: Man Ray

Born Emmanuel Radnitzky in Philadelphia in 1890, the revolutionary photographic artist was also a sculptor and painter. He had arrived in Paris in 1921, three years before Kiki, but fled in 1940, before the Nazi occupation and settled in Hollywood, California.

He died in 1976. As for Kiki, she dabbled in painting and, after losing her looks and figure, tried an abortive career as an entertainer. Eventually she became a drug addict and alcoholic and died, tragically, alone in 1953 at 44. Ironically, at the time of her death her apartment was stuffed with valuable paintings from her former artist friends whom she had inspired during her youth.
Source: Author jouen58

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