| Quote #1
But here, since I am yours, o holy Muses,
In his continuing nod to the Classical tradition, Dante invokes the Muses at the beginning of Purgatorio. Of course, in describing his situation he Christianizes it, asking that the Muses help “this poem rise again from Hell’s dead realm”; in a way, Dante is asking for the Muses to bring his poetry back to life after its stint in Hell. The Muses can't bring anyone back to life, though. Of the Classical deities, only Zeus, the king of the gods and analogous to the single Christian God, is capable of bringing someone back to life. So, Dante is equating the Muses with the Christian God, combining the Classical with the Christian.
| Quote #2
[Dante to Casella]: And I: “If there’s no new law that denies
Here, Casella’s sweet singing so mesmerizes the company that they “all were motionless and fixed upon the notes.” In the context of Purgatory, music (and art in general) distracts souls from attending to their duties. Where art is an ennobling and welcome addition to mortal life, it seems to have no place in Purgatory. Cato reinforces this message by reprimanding the company for loitering while there’s work to be done.
| Quote #3
Gold and fine silver, cochineal, white lead,
Dante’s first sight of the Valley of the Rulers, the last cornice in ante-Purgatory, is reminiscent of a painting in its vivid description of colors. Indeed, Dante invokes this idea of the artist with “nature [as] […] a painter.” As always, this metaphor has deeper religious meaning. As the Creator, God is often referred to as an artisan or craftsman. One of his creations is nature. So, this description of nature as “a painter” is a reference to God painting the known world.