02/11/2012 15:37 GMT | Updated 02/11/2012 15:49 GMT

Female Muses: The Inspiring Women Behind Great Artistic Men


Women may have been excluded from art history for a good few centuries, but a closer look at what inspired great male artists shows they were still very much involved.

The concept of the muse goes all the way back to ancient Greek mythology, where Zeus's godly daughters presided artfully over different aspects of culture, inspiring its practitioners. Over the last few centuries the term has come to define those people who fuel creative imagination, often being portrayed in art, film, poetry and music.

It's a pretty long list, so we've narrowed it down to our favourite female muses from the art world - and the women they were beyond the canvas or camera lens.

Have we missed out an inspirational muse in our round-up? Let us know in the comments.