Shakespeare's Porn

Who was Giulio Romano, and why does he merit a mention in Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale (“a piece many years in doing and now newly performed by that rare Italian master, Julio Romano”)?
Apparently Romano’s work known as the I Modi (“the positions”) depicts a series of 16 explicit sexual positions. The work was handed around, soon becoming a wood cut and going on to be a best seller in Europe where the likes of Ben Jonson apparently got a look at it. Did Jonson perhaps invite his friend Shakespeare over to have a look at his dirty book?

Related Posts

One thought on “Shakespeare's Porn

  1. Find a book called "Imagining Shakespeare" by Stephen Orgel, Duane. He as a whole chapter entitled "The Pornographic Ideal" that focuses on Romano, who, Orgel notes, was part of the avant-garde in the visual arts in Shakespeare's time. He also writes about him and his inclusion in "The Winter's Tale" in the Oxford introduction to the play.

    Romano was not a sculptor at all, despite what the final scene of TWT implies, but since Hermione is no statue, it makes sense in the way that Hitchcock's definition of a Maguffin makes sense.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *