Is being an artist's model a dangerous profession?
It is no more dangerous to be an artist's model than most other service
professions. But because artist models often pose without clothing there
is a perception that the profession exposes the models to danger. What
actually makes an artist's model vulnerable to danger is being unaware of
unsafe conditions in the first place.
The so-called workplace of the typical artist's model is not so perilous
as to raise alarms. He or she could be posing in a classroom at a local
university or at an advanced painting lesson in a popular village gallery.
Of course, there are situations where artist models are required to be
alone with the painter or sculptor, but there is a certain decorum
maintained that protects both the artist and the model. In case of a gross
breach of ethics the model can find legal recourse.
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The security of the nude modeling session depends on all the
participants taking elementary precautions at the outset. Protocol
dictates that models will disrobe in a separate area from the art room and
be provided a secure locker or other method for keeping personal effects
In the university setting the professor is responsible for maintaining
decorum and each student is expected to respect professional ethics. If
models are introduced at all, it is only by first name. No personal
information about the model (i.e., marital status, alternate employment,
home address) is ever revealed. At the end of the posing session, the
artist's model will have a robe nearby and take cover at once. Of course,
it is exemplary if the model can bring an escort along who can maintain
security at every point of the modeling session.
The professional artist working with a nude model is not thinking in terms
of the sexuality of the situation, but rather the technical aspects of
light and shadow, perspective and shape. It is a rare professional artist
that would risk his or her reputation by preying on unsuspecting models.
Such antics would not last long in the "small world" of professional
That being said, there have been many famous trysts between artists and
their models. Picasso had multiple affairs throughout his long artistic
career; American painter Andrew Wyeth maintained a 15-year relationship
with his model, Helga Testorf; and Cezanne had his paramour in Hortense
Fiquet. But these relationships were clearly consensual and not dangerous
for the artists' models in any physical sense.
To summarize, the professional artist's model should only accept modeling
assignments that are legitimate and safe. He or she should take
precautions to secure all personal effects while posing in the art room
and be aware of the surroundings while entering and leaving the building.
If there is any hint of impropriety, the session should be immediately
aborted and the offending party should be reported to the authorities.
Pretty much the same advice for anyone who works in any personal service
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