ArtLex Art Dictionary



moodel - A person who poses for an artist. An artist chooses to refer to a model as a means to inform the choosing of formal and expressive qualities in a composition. A model's physical characteristics, costume, props and surroundings, can, along with the model's pose affect allegorical aspects through the direction of narrative content. A model can express attitude along with many other overt and subtle meanings.


Examples of this first sense are depicted in:






see thumbnail to leftJan van der Straet (Stradanus) (Dutch, 1523-1604), Painter's Studio, woodcut. As the master paints a large canvas with a picture of St. George and the Dragon at the center, an apprentice paints a portrait from a model at left, two make drawings and one mixes colors in the foreground, two more grind pigments into oil on the right, and a last one carries a canvas toward the doorway. Windows let in natural light from several angles. There are numerous shelves, drawers and tables for supplies and works-in-progress. See Dutch art, storage, and studio.




see thumbnail to rightHenri Matisse (French, 1869-1954), The Painter in His Studio or The Painter and His Model, 1917, oil on canvas, 146.5 x 97 cm, Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris. See studio.






see thumbnail to leftPablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881-1973), Neo-Classical Painter in his Studio, 1963, etching, 41.9 x 57.1 cm, Tate Gallery, London. See easel, Neoclassicism, and studio.




see thumbnail to rightBalthus (born Balthasar Klossowski de Rola) (French, 1908-2001), The Painter and His Model, 1980-1981, casein and tempera on canvas, 226.5 x 230.5 cm, Georges Pompidou Center, Paris. See self-portrait.

Also, the preliminary form of a sculpture, building or other object created at a consistent scale, often finished in itself, but preceding the final casting or carving. Or, a small-sized version of something, such as the
see thumbnail to rightmannequin (small wooden articulated figure) pictured here. Architects make small models of buildings with furnishings and landscaping to show clients how the finished product will look.

Examples of models of sculptures, architecture, and other three-dimensional designs:



see thumbnail to rightEgypt, Western Thebes, Model of a Riverboat, c. 1985 BCE, Dynasty 12, early reign of Amenemhat I, Middle Kingdom, gessoed and painted wood, linen twine, linen, length 50 3/8 inches (128.9 cm), Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY. See Egyptian art.



Michelangelo Buonarroti (Italian, 1475-1564), Model for a Victory, also known as Hercules and Cacus (Ercole e Caco), c. 1508?, clay, height 26 1/2 inches (41 cm), Casa Buonarroti, Florence.





see thumbnail to leftAnnibale Fontana (Italian, Milan, 1540[?]-87), Adoring Angel, 1583-84, wax with metal armature on wood base, height (with base) 21 3/4 inches (55.2 cm), Los Angeles County Museum of Art.





see thumbnail to rightFrancois Girardon (French, 1628-1715), Model for the Equestrian Statue of Louis XIV, bronze, Hermitage Museum, St. Petersburg, Russia. See Baroque and equestrian statue.




see thumbnail to leftFrank Lloyd Wright (American, 1867-1959), Model of Fallingwater, Edgar J. Kaufmann House, Mill Run, Pennsylvania, 1934-37, acrylic, wood, metal, expanded polystyrene, and paint, 40 1/2 x 71 1/2 x 47 5/8 inches (102.9 x 181.6 x 121 cm), Museum of Modern Art, NY.




see thumbnail to rightJosef Hoffmann (Austrian, 1870-1956) for Wiener Werkstätte, part of the Flat Model cutlery set, silver, c.1903-1904. "Model" in this instance, means "version." See secession.



see thumbnail to leftLe Corbusier (born Charles-Edouard Jeanneret) (French, born Switzerland, 1887-1965), Unité d'habitation, Berlin-Tiergaten, 1957-1958, maquette d'étude (study model) of wood (solid and sheet), 55 x 122 x 90 cm, Georges Pompidou Center, Paris.




see thumbnail to rightNaum Gabo (worked in Germany, England, and USA, born Russia, 1890-1977), Model for 'Constructed Torso', 1917, reassembled 1981, cardboard, 39.5 x 29.0 x 16.0 cm, Tate Gallery, London. See model.




see thumbnail to leftNaum Gabo, Model for 'Column', 1920-21, cellulose nitrate, 14.3 x 9.5 x 9.5 cm, Tate Gallery, London.





see thumbnail to rightNaum Gabo, Model for 'Rotating Fountain', 1925, reassembled 1986, metal and plastic, 44.0 x 40.0 x 40.0 cm, Tate Gallery, London. This model was enlarged into a full-scale fountain, presumably with curved, rotating arms. Originally sited in a Dresden garden, it is now destroyed. See Constructivism, fountain, and kinetic.



see thumbnail to leftMatti Suuronen (Finnish architect, 1933-), Futuro, 1968, a "futuristic" house resembling a flying saucer, it has a fiberglass exterior, height 4 m, diameter 8 m, volume 140 cubic m, weight without furnishings, 2,500 kg, manufactured in several locations around the world.see thumbnail to rightHere is a model of the Futuro. It appears ovoid in every elevation view, although it is circular in plan. The shape is repeated in the design's twelve oval windows. Visit




Or, to make by shaping a plastic substance, such as clay -- either modeling clay or ceramic clay — or wax. Also see maquette and modeling. (In this sense, it is much more appropriate to use the term model than it is to use the term mold — a common mistake.)






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Also see architecture, attribute, full-scale, interdisciplinary, mannequin, placeholder, statue, and straight.



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