LE SUEUR, Eustache
(b. 1616/17, Paris, d. 1655, Paris)
The Muses: Clio, Euterpe and Thalia1652-55
Oil on wood, 130 x 130 cm
Musée du Louvre, Paris
Le Sueur was the pupil of Vouet. This painting and its companion piece depicting Melpomene, Erato and Polyhymnia were used to decorate the Cabinet of the Muses of the Hotel Lambert in Paris. These charming, delicately painted pictures foreshadow the coming of Poussin.
The muses are the goddesses of creative inspiration in poetry, song and other arts, they are the companions of Apollo. They were the daughters of Jupiter and the Titaness Mnemosyne (memory) who had lain together for nine consecutive nights. The muses were originally nymphs who presided over springs that had the power to give inspiration, especially Aganippe and Hippocrene on Mount Helicon and the Castilian spring on Mount Parnassus. The nine muses and their usual attributions are the following.