A user interface architecture originating in the 1970's in the Xerox Smalltalk system, where three objects play roles that combine into proper elements on the screen:

The Model
The domain object in question, or some representation of it. This is a non-graphical (usually) object which did not have to know about presentation aspects or other semantics of the terminal.
The View
This object rendered the model on the screen, managing update to the screen and the general display. The view must be notified whenever some significant aspect of the model changes.
The Controller
This object handles the events between the user and the application: it maps incoming events to behavioral actions that the View or even the Model exhibits, causing them to be invoked on user request.

See this tutorial explanation.

See Applications Programming in Smalltalk-80(TM): How to use Model-View-Controller (MVC) by Steve Burbeck, Ph.D.

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