Where does creativity come from? It’s a question that doesn’t have a completely satisfactory answer. There is something mysterious about the creative process that isn’t quite covered by brain scans, nature vs nurture and hard work vs natural talent ratios.
Today, we’re completely comfortable with idea of a muse inspiring great art. The idea of one person being so bewitching and irresistible to a painter/musician/writer that they are compelled to create something to express their feelings is enshrined across the arts.
We listed some of our favourites, but feel free to add more in the comments section!
Francis Bacon / George Dyer
One of the most compelling artists of the 20th century, Francis Bacon’s haunting portraits of his lover, small time crook George Dyer, are unflinchingly, bleak, mesmerising and powerful. Their tragic love affair, and Dyer’s suicide on the eve of Bacon’s Paris Retrospective exhibition, haunted Bacon throughout his life and inspired numerous nightmarish paintings of strange beauty.
Woody Allen / Dianne Keaton
Woody Allen’s 1977 film ‘Annie Hall’ features Diane Keaton in the leading role, a part written specifically for her after her romantic involvement with Woody. Keaton starred in three of Allen’s films and his preoccupation with her has resulted in a classic of American cinema, four Academy Awards, four BAFTAs, selection by the Library of Congress for its National Film Registry and a depiction of New York that feels as fresh and contemporary today as it did then.
Eric Clapton and George Harrison / Pattie Boyd
Famous for being the wife of BOTH George Harrison and Eric Clapton, Pattie Boyd reputedly also had involvements with both John Lennon and Mick Jagger (hurry up and write a tell-all biography Pattie!). These relationships led to the production of songs such as Harrison’s “Something,” “I Need You,” “For You Blue” and “Isn’t It a Pity,” and Clapton’s “Layla,” “Wonderful Tonight” and “Bell Bottom Blues.”
Leoš Janácek / Kamila Stosslova
Leoš Janácek was considered a mid-tier composer when he met the young Kamila Stosslova. Both were married and he was 38 years her senior, but he fell head-over-heels in love with her and began writing to her – a habit that would continue with him for the rest of his life and over 700 letters! Their relationship remained unrequited, but she directly inspired many of the compositions that made him great; “Katya Kabanová”,”The Cunning Little Vixen”, his Sinfonietta and the String Quartet No. 2 (subtitled “Intimate Letters”).
We perform Intimate Letters 18 August – 2 September, touring nationally.