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The Tempest (Prospero and Miranda) map_it

History

This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.

This bronze piece in front of the Delacorte Theater depicts Prospero, one of the main characters of celebrated playwright and poet William Shakespeare’s (1564–1616) play The Tempest. One of two companion pieces sculpted by Milton Hebald (born 1917) and unveiled in 1966, the piece is a gift of publisher and philanthropist George T. Delacorte (1894–1991). Delacorte donated the Delacorte Theater, which is best known for its free Shakespeare productions that play each summer. Hebald’s other piece at the site, Romeo and Juliet (1977) commemorates the Shakespeare play of the same name.

Delacorte’s many gifts to the city of New York include the Alice-in-Wonderland statue (1959) and the Delacorte Clock (1965) in Central Park, as well as fountains in Bowling Green Park (1977) and Columbus Circle (1965). As founder of Dell Books, Delacorte published comic books of popular animated characters such as Bugs Bunny, Woody Woodpecker, and Walt Disney’s Mickey and Minnie Mouse and Pluto. As his fortune grew, Delacorte began to give gifts to Central Park. It is said that the image of the Mad Hatter in the Alice in Wonderland sculpture is a portrait of the donor himself.

The Delacorte Theater, which opened in 1962, is the permanent home of Joseph Papp’s New York Shakespeare Festival. The theater’s opening performance was The Merchant of Venice, directed by Papp and featuring George C. Scott, James Earl Jones, and William Devane. Sculptor Hebald also created the bust of opera star Richard Tucker (1979) across from Lincoln Center. In 1985, the Central Park Conservancy conserved the sculpture. In 1993, Delacorte’s heirs endowed the maintenance of those sculptures and fountains he bequeathed to the City.

Photo of The Tempest sculpture in Central Park

The Tempest (Prospero and Miranda) Details

  • Sculptor: Milton Hebald
  • Description: Bronze group, granite pedestal
  • Materials: Bronze, Chelmsford granite, tool pitch
  • Dedicated: June 22, 1973
  • Fabricator: A. Ottavino Corp.
  • Donor: Delacorte Foundation
  • Inscription: THE TEMPEST / GIFT OF GEORGE DELACORTE /

Please note, the NAME field includes a primary designation as well as alternate namings often in common or popular usage. The DEDICATED field refers to the most recent dedication, most often, but not necessarily the original dedication date. If the monument did not have a formal dedication, the year listed reflects the date of installation.

For more information, please contact Art & Antiquities at (212) 360-8143

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