The Unknown Masterpiece Questions and Answers
by Honoré Balzac

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What is the role of the female model in Balzac’s story? What role does Gillette play in the relationship between Frenhofer and Poussin?

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In Honoré de Balzac’s “The Unknown Masterpiece,” Gillette is the mistress of the artist Poussin. Although she plays a central role, her desires are subordinated to those of the male artists, including her lover.

Gillette is presented as an extremely romantic person, so obsessed with love that she resents Poussin’s devotion to his art....

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