The Winter’s Tale Art and Culture Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Act.Scene.Line). Line numbers correspond to the Norton edition.
No: the princess hearing of her mother's statue,
which is in the keeping of Paulina,--a piece many
years in doing and now newly performed by that rare
Italian master, Giulio Romano, who, had he himself
eternity and could put breath into his work, would
beguile Nature of her custom, so perfectly he is her
ape: he so near to Hermione hath done Hermione that
they say one would speak to her and stand in hope of
answer: thither with all greediness of affection
are they gone, and there they intend to sup. (5.2.6)
The Third Gentleman says that Giulio Romano (an Italian artist who lived between 1499 and 1546) is responsible for creating the lifelike statue of Hermione. He pays the artist the highest compliment when he insists that Romano can “beguile nature” with his realistic art work.
As she lived peerless,
So her dead likeness, I do well believe,
Excels whatever yet you look'd upon
Or hand of man hath done; therefore I keep it
Lonely, apart. But here it is: prepare
To see the life as lively mock'd as ever
Still sleep mock'd death: behold, and say 'tis well.
PAULINA draws a curtain, and discovers HERMIONE standing like a statue
I like your silence, it the more shows off
Your wonder: but yet speak; first, you, my liege,
Comes it not something near? (5.3.2)
Hermione’s “statue” is so lifelike that when Paulina orchestrates a dramatic unveiling and draws back the curtain, her “audience” sits in stunned “silence.” The statue, as promised, is a “dead likeness” of Hermione.
O, she's warm!
If this be magic, let it be an art
Lawful as eating.
She embraces him.
She hangs about his neck:
If she pertain to life let her speak too.
Ay, and make't manifest where she has lived,
Or how stolen from the dead. (5.3.13)
Paulina presents the statue as a work of “art” but it turns out to be the natural body of Hermione, who is very much alive and seems to have risen “from the dead” by “magic.”