The Winter’s Tale
The Winter’s Tale Art and Culture Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
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.
PAULINA 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.
LEONTES O, she's warm! If this be magic, let it be an art Lawful as eating. POLIXENES She embraces him. CAMILLO She hangs about his neck: If she pertain to life let her speak too. POLIXENES 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.”