Seeing Stars

What do Charlton Heston and Madonna have in common? They both worked as artist’s models in their struggling pre-fame days. I know what you’re all thinking; Madonna, yeah that makes sense. But Charlton Heston?? Among others, you can also add Mata Hari, Josephine Baker, and Sean Connery to the list. (Oh, crap. Did I just type Sean Connery? Great. Now my mother is going to read it, conjure up images of a young, buff Sean Connery in the nude, pass out from swooning, and I’ll have to drive over to her house with smelling salts to revive her, dutiful daughter that I am).

However, it’s a rare celebrity who will pose nude when they are already famous – not for a sexy magazine or a film role or strictly for publicity purposes – but for the purpose of art. I came across an article on the web recently about the British fashion model Kate Moss. Apparently she is engaged to a young rocker/artist named Jamie Hince and is posing nude for several of his paintings. Looks like the “artist-muse” dimension is entering their intimate relationship, with the potential to bring extra complications, emotional turbulence, mayhem, jealousy, and eventual destruction. Hey, I’m not wishing it upon them! I’m just basing it on the iron-clad historical evidence of calamitous artist-muse relationships I chronicle so exhaustively on this blog. Just kidding, folks 😆

But Kate Moss has had her taste of art modeling before. In 2002, she posed for the world-renowned painter Lucien Freud, grandson of Sigmund. It seems that during an interview with a style magazine, Kate said that her one still-unfulfilled aspiration in life was to pose for Lucien Freud. Freud read the interview and soon the project was set up between the eminent artist and fashion model. Excuse me- “supermodel”.

What’s most unusal about this (besides the fact that the 70 year-old artist was reading a fashion magazine) is that Moss was pregnant when she posed. So the famously waif-thin model appears much plumper than the public is used to seeing her:

But surely when it comes to depicting celebrities and famous faces, no artist can compete with the celebrity-obsessed, mass-market art purveyor Andy Warhol. His famous photo silkscreens are iconic representations of iconic figures in pop culture: Marilyn Monroe, Elvis, Jackie O, even himself. I hesitated to post this Warhol portrait of Elizabeth Taylor because it wasn’t created from life – a fundamental requisite for all art posted on Museworthy. It’s really all I ask, is that too much? Style, artist, movement, medium don’t matter. Just be from life, dammit! But I like this one the best, and I am a fan of Liz, and I do want to make a point about celebrities as subjects for art. Plus I don’t want to be a hardass.

This is Warhol’s Liz, which sold at auction at Christie’s last November for $23 million. It was once owned by British actor Hugh Grant. Warhol used a still photograph of Taylor from her film Butterfield 8, for which she won an Academy Award.

4 thoughts on “Seeing Stars

  1. Ron says:

    What about Ronald Reagan? Check this out:

    Sometimes even the President of the United States must stand (almost) naked. Apologies to Dylan.

  2. Two of my other fellow blogers have admitted to being Life Models in their youth. I hope your Presidents generally keep their cloths on; not that I care much unless I was lucky enough to be asked to sculpt one of them. I do not believe that Mrs Thatcher was required to do this and I often wonder how Franta Belsky managed to get Sir Winston Churchil to get his off. There is actually a photo of him looking at this stichless version of himself, he has a sheepish grin on his face! Here is the unclothed clay (or plaster):

  3. artmodel says:

    Ron, LOL!! I love it! Reagan with quite the physique there. But you are correct. The key word is “almost”. Now if only he had dropped the shorts then he would have earned his true life model stripes.

    Thanks for the pic. If you come across any more like that, please send them over!


  4. artmodel says:


    That is quite a picture! The words “Winston Churchill” and “nude” don’t exactly go together compatibly. You’re right to wonder how on earth Belsky managed that. Do you think WInston actually posed for that piece? You never know. Some people, who are not professional art models, find the idea of posing nude for artists very attractive and want to try it just once. I think it’s safe to say, though, that Margaret Thatcher probably passed on the idea!

    Thanks for the link!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.