An art model poses for any visual artist as part of the creative process , providing a visual reference for the human figure in a work of art. However, more than being simply the subject of art, models are often thought of as muses , a source of inspiration without whom the art would not exist.
Art models are often paid professionals with skill and experience but are rarely employed full-time, and artists may also rely on friends and family to pose. Paid art models are usually anonymous and unacknowledged subjects of the work. Models are most frequently employed for art classes or by informal groups of artists that gather to share the expense of a model. Models are also employed privately by professional artists.
Although commercial motives dominate over aesthetics in illustration , its artwork commonly employs models. For example, Norman Rockwell used his friends and neighbors as models for both his commercial and fine art work.
Beginning with the Renaissance, drawing the human figure from living models was considered the most effective way to develop the skill of draftsmanship. In the twentieth century, it became established that it is best to draw from life, rather than copying two dimensional images such as photographs.
In the classroom setting, where the purpose is to learn how to draw the human form in all the different shapes, ages and ethnicity, there are no real limitations on who the model can be. In some cases, the model may pose with various props , one or more other models, against real or artificial background, in natural or artificial light.
The role of art models has changed through different eras as the meaning and importance of the human figure in art and society has changed. Poses can range in length from seconds to many hours. There is a drawing exercise where the model slowly but continuously moves, but the shortest is usually one minute.
Short dynamic poses are used for gesture drawing exercises or warm-ups, with the model taking strenuous or precarious positions that could not be sustained for a longer pose—just long enough for the artist to quickly capture the essence of it.
Drawing sessions proceed though groups of 5, 10, 15, or 20 minute poses generally for a total of three hours. Active, gestural, or challenging standing poses are often scheduled at the beginning of a session when the models' energy level is highest.
Specific exercises or lesson plans may require a particular type of pose, but more often the model is expected to do a series of poses with little direction. The more a model knows about the types of exercises used to teach art, the better they become at posing. Poses fall into three basic categories: standing, seated and reclining.
Within each of these there are varying levels of difficulty, so one kind is not always easier than another. Artists and life drawing instructors will often prefer poses in which the body is being exerted, for a more dynamic and aesthetically interesting subject. Common poses such as standing twists, slouched seated poses and especially the classical contrapposto are difficult to sustain accurately for any amount of time, although it is often surprising what a skilled model can do.
The model's level of experience and skill may be taken into account in determining the length of the posing session and the difficulty of the poses. While posing, a model is expected to remain essentially motionless,  and usually remains silent. To accommodate the physical limitations, a schedule such as 20 to 25 minutes of posing, with five- or ten-minute breaks is observed. These breaks—during which the model usually wears a robe or puts on clothing—allow the model to stretch, relax and attend to other needs.
In art schools classrooms or studios, the model usually poses on a raised platform called the model stand or dais. Models for life drawing classes usually pose nude, though visually non-obstructive personal items such as small jewelry and eyeglasses may be worn.
In a job advertisement seeking nude models, this may be referred to as being "undraped" or "disrobed. While the majority of sessions have a single model, when the budget permits two or more may pose together.
During art school classes or in other academic settings, strict rules that apply to models, students, and instructors are observed to maintain decorum and emphasize the serious intent of figure studies.
Disrobing is done discreetly, and the model wears a robe when not posing. Very close examinations are only made with the permission of the model. Some institutions allow only the instructor to speak directly with a model. Experienced models avoid any sexually suggestive poses. In Europe and South America attitudes are more relaxed, while in China and Korea attitudes are more repressed.
In non-academic settings, models may pose as requested by artists within the limits of the law and their own comfort, including work that requires physical contact with other models, the artist, or the public. French artist Yves Klein applied paint to models' bodies which were then pressed into or dragged across canvas both as performance art and as painting technique. The conventions for professional artists working in private are much less defined, especially as the models are often friends or family.
However, artists who hire individuals with whom they have no prior relationship tend to observe art school standards in order to make models feel more comfortable, and to avoid possible legal issues.
Professional artists often hire the same models on a regular basis. When a comfortable working relationship is established, many artists relax their standards and models do the same. This may be something as simple as not undressing in another room, or not wearing a robe during breaks.
In addition, silence is no longer necessary if the artist is comfortable working and conversing with the model. A more collegial relationship may develop where artist and model feel that they are collaborating. However, in a private studio environment, with an artist on a deadline or with commission guidelines, stricter work standards may apply regarding punctuality and holding longer, more demanding poses, but also require higher rates of pay. Chuck Close apologized when several women accused him of making inappropriate comments when they came to his studio to pose, but initially denied any wrongdoing.
Artist Peter Graham in his studio with his mother as model. In Western countries, there is generally no objection to either sex posing nude for or drawing members of the opposite sex. However, this was not always so. In , Thomas Eakins was famously dismissed from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art for removing the loincloth from a male model in a mixed classroom. Similarly, Victorian modesty sometimes required the female model to pose nude with her face draped Masked Nude by Eakins, for example.
European arts academies did not allow women to study the nude at all until the end of the nineteenth century. Even today there remain some schools where the employment of nude models is limited male models wearing jockstraps or prohibited, usually for religious reasons. All of the above is based upon a moderate position regarding the value of figure studies and nudity in art. There are also schools or studios that may be more conservative , or more liberal. Many art programs in Christian institutions consider nudity in any form to be in conflict with their beliefs, and therefore hire only clothed models for art classes.
James Elkins voices an alternative to classical "dispassionate" figure study by stating that the nude is never devoid of erotic meaning, and it is a fiction to pretend otherwise. Models may be apprehensive about posing for incoming freshmen who, having never encountered classroom nudity, respond immaturely. The painter John Currin , whose work is often erotic, combines images from popular culture and references to his wife, Rachel Feinstein. A feminist view is the male gaze , which asserts that nudes are inherently voyeuristic, with the viewer in the place of the powerful male gazing upon the passive female subject.
There has been controversy regarding the status of photography as a fine arts medium that is reflected in the unwillingness of some nude models for other fine art media to also pose for photography. The hourly rate of pay for models posing for fine art photography is much higher than for other media, although less than for commercial photography. Occasionally the distinction of participating in Fine Art may make a young amateur model willing to pose for a photographer, with unexpected consequences; examples being Vanessa Williams and Madonna.
Painting classes, and artists doing historical themed works often require clothed or costumed models who take poses that may be sustained until the work is completed. This creates some demand for clothed models in those schools that continue to teach academic painting methods.
Some models may promote their services based upon having interesting or varied costumes. Portraits generally have a client or "sitter" rather than a model as the subject; and are now often done from photographs at least in part, although artists prefer to have at least some hours of live sitting particularly at the beginning to better capture the personality, and at the end for final touches.
Most models learn on the job, but many have experience in the performing arts, athletics, or yoga  that provide a basis for posing, such as strength, flexibility, and a well-developed sense of kinesthesis. In some countries there are organizations which concern themselves with the competence, conduct and reliability of art models. RAM also acts as an important employment exchange for models and publishes the 'RAM Guidelines', which are widely referred to by models and employers. Groups also exist in Australia,  Sweden,  Washington, D.
These groups may also attempt to establish minimum rates of pay and working conditions, but only rarely have models been sufficiently organized to go on strike. Unlike fashion modeling , modeling in an art school classroom is for the purpose of learning how to draw humans of different shapes, ages, and ethnicity. Children are generally excluded from modeling nude for classes. The minimum age can vary, but is often 15 to Despite being nonsexual in nature, this may be influenced by the age of consent i.
Children are not good candidates for art modeling since they lack the ability to hold still. Gender roles and stereotypes in society are reflected in a different experience for male and female models, and different responses when those not in the arts learn that someone is a nude model.
However, both male and female models tend to keep their modeling career distinct from their other social interactions, if for different reasons. Attitudes toward male nudity, issues of homosexuality when male models work from male artists, and some bias towards the female form in art may lead to less opportunity for male models,  and works of art that include male nudity are much less marketable.
Job description posted by art schools includes statements that poses are nude, and requirements are generally limited to being able to hold poses up to 45 minutes, and to follow cues from the instructor. Some colleges have lists of guidelines, while others have extensive manuals that describe policies regarding both in-class and outside interaction by models, students, and faculty; with special consideration for issues of sexual harassment.
The Columbus College of Art and Design guidelines specifically state that students are discouraged from forming any amorous relationship with models, and must report any existing relationship to avoid possible conflicts. Male models must remain in an unaroused state. Models may not be accompanied by non-class members. Guidelines at St.
Olaf College specifies tight control on access to the room when models are posing, forbids photography, and discourages comments on models' appearance. The Greeks , who had the naked body constantly before them in the exercises of the gymnasium , had far less need of professional models than the moderns; but it is scarcely likely that they could have attained the high level reached by their works without constant study from nature.
It was probably in Ancient Greece that models were first used. The story told of Zeuxis by Valerius Maximus , who had five of the most beautiful virgins of the city of Crotone offered him as models for his picture of Helen , proves their occasional use. The remark of Eupompus , quoted by Pliny , who advised Lysippos , "Let nature be your model, not an artist", directing his attention to the crowd instead of to his own work, also suggests a use of models which the many portrait statues of Greek and Roman times show to have been not unknown.
The nude virtually disappeared from Western art during the Middle Ages due to a combination of civil disorder and the attitude of the early Christians. Art modeling as an occupation appeared in the late Renaissance when the establishment of schools for the study of the human figure created a regular demand, and since that time the remuneration offered ensured a continual supply.
The status of nude models has fluctuated with the value and acceptance of nudity in art. Maintaining the classical ideals of Greece and Rome into the Christian Era, nudity was prominent in the decoration of Catholic churches in the Renaissance, only to be covered up with draperies or fig leaves by more prudish successors.
The Protestant Reformation went even further, destroying many artworks.