06/02/2013 07:20 GMT | Updated 06/04/2013 06:12 BST

The History of Inspiration

Ana's Thought: "Of all disciplines of Arts, the 'Muse' has been most generous to painting with the absence of all rules - giving total freedom to create."

Inspiration is an eternal mystery, the fountain that overflows to send rivulets of ingenuity directly into the minds of the receptive. It is as though an arrow of fire is shot from an invisible bow, cutting through darkness to bring brilliance to its target. The artist struck by this sacred dart does not know what compels her hands to move in the ways that they do. She could never pinpoint the precise source of her ideas - she only knows that she must chase their strange light. The hidden archer is a bearer of divine insight, known throughout the ages as the Muse.

The ancient Greeks were the first to give a name to the experience of becoming inspired. To them, enlightenment took the form of Zeus's three beautiful daughters, the patrons of the arts. It was in the Roman tradition that the classical Muses came to be: nine breathtaking deities who served as the guardians of talent and wisdom, from music and dance to history and astronomy. Writers and artists called upon these spirits to guide them as they set to work, trusting that their humble praise would see them through to the creation of magnificence.

With the passing of time, the idea of the Muse changed. Many of history's beloved creators and thinkers - Dante, Keats, Picasso, Manet, Rilke, and countless others - looked not to the heavens but to figures of personal ideal in their own worlds to spark their will. For the first time, the ability to inspire could be something mortal as well as Immortal! Even as definitions shifted, one fact remained: the core of the Muse was the metaphysical beauty of womankind. The notion of the Muse being such a strong and guiding force speaks to the power of women as keepers of knowledge and potential.

Every masterpiece is born of a singular moment of energy when both an idea and the means of achieving it come sharply into view: rare and fantastic, a revelation. In the hours, days, and years after this flickering instant of insight, the force of passion - a wordless and insatiable drive - germinates greatness. The Muse, the symbol encompassing both chance and destiny, sings enchanting melodies of promise into the ear of each inventor, scientist, poet, and artist. Those who listen are swept up in the song of possibility and transfigured, newly blessed with the capabilities and determination to change the world in the hope that the soul of mankind will hear their song.