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Original Shakespeare Portrait Discovered, Disputed

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the never-saw-that-you-did-painting-need dept.

Books 96

Reader Hugh Pickens sends in news from the NYTimes a few days back of what is believed to be a 400-year-old portrait of William Shakespeare, painted 6 years before his death. No existing portrait, that most experts consider to be genuine, was captured during Shakespeare's lifetime. "It shows Shakespeare as a far more alluring figure than the solemn-faced, balding image that has been conveyed by previous engravings, busts and portraits. 'His face is open and alive, with a rosy, rather sweet expression, perhaps suggestive of modesty,' said a brochure for an exhibition opening in Stratford. The portrait came to light when Alec Cobbe visited the National Portrait Gallery in London in 2006 to see an exhibition, 'Searching for Shakespeare,' and realized that the Folger portrait, whose authenticity had been doubted for decades, was a copy of the one that had been in his family's art collection since the mid-18th century, with the family unaware that the man depicted might be Shakespeare. Scientific studies at Cambridge showed that the oak panel on which the Cobbe portrait was mounted came from trees felled in the last 20 years of the 16th century, pointing to a date for the painting in the early 1600s." For balance, the New Yorker disputes some of the claims in the NYTimes account, and for good measure tosses in another purported Shakespeare portrait from life, this one discovered 3 years ago in Canada.

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96 comments

fp (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27197745)

the fact that you enjoy eating out my asshole, however, is not disputed.

from the man (3, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#27197749)

"God has given you one face, and you make yourself another."
~ William Shakespeare

Re:from the man (4, Funny)

Massacrifice (249974) | more than 5 years ago | (#27197989)

Translation : I've been dead for 500 years, and I've written all this great stuff. Why do you care what I looked like? Go read a book, stop looking at me.

Re:from the man (2, Insightful)

BrokenHalo (565198) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198061)

"God has given you one face, and you make yourself another."

Exactly. people have been touching up portraits long before PhotoShop was invented.

Re:from the man (1)

dangitman (862676) | more than 5 years ago | (#27208101)

Exactly. people have been touching up portraits long before PhotoShop was invented.

-1, Molesty.

Re:from the man (5, Funny)

MindlessAutomata (1282944) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198461)

Shakespeare? Isn't he the guy that invented the ball-point pen?

Re:from the man (1)

MartinSchou (1360093) | more than 5 years ago | (#27199035)

No, he's the guy who came up with the idea of shaking your [cencored] in front of a woman's face in porno movies.

Re:from the man (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27219385)

it is a shame how quickly the slashdot forum denegrates to the lowest base - obviously an a north american influence.

to be or not to be...

What's in a value? (2, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 5 years ago | (#27197755)

That which we call a portrait from any other time period would look as similar.

So this portrait would, were it painted later, retain that dear perfection which it holds without that title.

kdawson's new catchphrase? (0, Offtopic)

fjo3 (1399739) | more than 5 years ago | (#27197781)

"For balance..." kdawson: Fair and balanced news (for nerds)!

Re:kdawson's new catchphrase? (1)

exley (221867) | more than 5 years ago | (#27197933)

Yeah I found the notion of "balance" coming from kdawson to be pretty hilarious too. Sure, every news/opinion outlet is gonna have its biases, but Slashdot always has to have that one editor who's on just a bit more of a crusade than the others.

Re:kdawson's new catchphrase? (1)

The Iso (1088207) | more than 5 years ago | (#27211495)

That New York Times article by itself makes it pretty clear that the authenticity of the portrait is disputed.

The one on the right in NYT link (2, Funny)

unity100 (970058) | more than 5 years ago | (#27197809)

is WAY too real.

Re:The one on the right in NYT link (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27197889)

Very true.

That cute little smirk reminds me of Mac user mating rituals as observed in the wild at West Hollywood or San Francisco. It is often a precursor to mutual drinks followed by trysts in bathroom stalls.

Re:The one on the right in NYT link (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27197959)

That cute little smirk reminds me of Mac user mating rituals as observed in the wild at West Hollywood or San Francisco. It is often a precursor to mutual drinks followed by trysts in bathroom stalls.

It's Saturday night. Why are you here on slashdot reminiscing?

Re:The one on the right in NYT link (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27198037)

Mod parent up!

Re:The one on the right in NYT link (1)

Reziac (43301) | more than 5 years ago | (#27202865)

Heh... when last I visited a museum, I was amazed by the lifelike realism of paintings of all sorts from ca. 1600. Some are not readily distinguishable from a photograph. In fact, some are visually akin to the "3-D photography" used as film backdrops, with just a strong an illusion of being 3D.

Re:The one on the right in NYT link (1)

sgt_doom (655561) | more than 5 years ago | (#27204265)

That is the BARD!! Absolutely! I recognize the guy from waaaaaaay back when we shared a night of fish & chips, kidney pie and some truly godawful ale.

That's the dood, alright. I remember that one tavern wench who dared bet me I couldn't pronounce the name of that Welsh town, llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.

And when she lost, boy did she ever pay up....best bet I ever made...what we were posting about...I forgot....

It's Bacon, not Shakespeare! (2, Funny)

B1oodAnge1 (1485419) | more than 5 years ago | (#27197825)

That's not Shakespeare, it's clearly Sir Francis Bacon.

Re:It's Bacon, not Shakespeare! (5, Funny)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 5 years ago | (#27197887)

I don't know about that, but I'll put even money he was less than six degrees from Bacon.

Re:It's Bacon, not Shakespeare! (5, Funny)

Hikaru79 (832891) | more than 5 years ago | (#27197971)

William Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet, which much later starred Leonardo DiCaprio, who was in Critters 3 with Geoffrey Blake, who was in Frost/Nixon with Kevin Bacon. I win :)

Re:It's Bacon, not Shakespeare! (1)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198071)

One step closer: Shakespeare wrote "A Midsummer Night's Dream", a 1999 film version of which featured Calista Flockhart who was in "Telling Lies in America" with Kevin Bacon.

All credit due to the internet, btw.

Re:It's Bacon, not Shakespeare! (3, Funny)

Penguinshit (591885) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198101)

That's FRANCIS Bacon, you insensitive clod!

Re:It's Bacon, not Shakespeare! (3, Funny)

VValdo (10446) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198561)

That's FRANCIS Bacon, you insensitive clod!

How's this:

William Shakespeare [imdb.com] wrote Romeo + Juliet [imdb.com] which starred Leonardo DeCaprio [imdb.com] who starred in Gangs of New York [imdb.com] with Tim Pigott-Smith [imdb.com] who was in Sweet William [imdb.com] with Melvyn Bragg [imdb.com] who was the narrator in Francis Bacon [imdb.com].

W

(thanks to the Oracle [oracleofbacon.org].)

 

Re:It's Bacon, not Shakespeare! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27206769)

That's actually 7 degrees.

Unless you're only counting people, but then your path wouldn't work, because Shakespeare never actually associated with DiCaprio. Hence, there is no link between the two people without going through the movie. At best, it's a omnidirectional link from DiCaprio to Sheakspeare, but not the other way around.

Yeah, I know I killed it.

Re:It's Bacon, not Shakespeare! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27197909)

Blue-haired Lawyer: I am here to serve you with a subpoena.
Homer: Well, I'm not opening the door.
Blue-haired Lawyer: It comes with a side of bacon.
Homer: Is it crispy?
Blue-haired Lawyer: Yeeees.
Homer: But not too crispy?
Blue-haired Lawyer: Nooo.
Homer: [opens door, takes bacon and subpoena] See you in court!

Marlowe! (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198327)

That's not Shakespeare, it's clearly Sir Francis Bacon.

No it's not. It's... it's... it's... Christopher Marlowe!

Even 400 year later, the loony theories abound.

Re:Marlowe! (2, Informative)

Mr. Bad Example (31092) | more than 5 years ago | (#27199207)

> No it's not. It's... it's... it's... Christopher Marlowe!
>
> Even 400 years later, the loony theories abound.

More than you know. One of the original "Shakespeare didn't write Shakespeare" proponents was the unfortunately-named J. Thomas Looney*, who said Edward de Vere, the Earl of Oxford, wrote everything, despite the inconvenient fact that de Vere died about nine years before Shakespeare's last recorded play was written.

*Apparently pronounced "loney", but still... Apparently Looney's publisher asked him to use a pseudonym, but he refused.

Re:Marlowe! (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 5 years ago | (#27200119)

Hmm, I'll refrain from saying "whoosh", as it was rather indirect.
However, I was under the impression that the name "Looney" was pronounced "loony". At least, I knew a fellow (a PhD) with that name and pronunciation. Perhaps it was different in Tudor times.
Anyway, the loony theories abound, however they are pronounced.

Re:Marlowe! (1)

Mr. Bad Example (31092) | more than 5 years ago | (#27200339)

I suspected a "whoosh" situation, but I couldn't resist the chance to rip on Looney at (moderate) length. He's fairly recent, too--he published his book in 1920 or so.

Re:Marlowe! (1)

shellbeach (610559) | more than 5 years ago | (#27204289)

who said Edward de Vere, the Earl of Oxford, wrote everything, despite the inconvenient fact that de Vere died about nine years before Shakespeare's last recorded play was written.

Hmmm ... as you might know, the dates of composition for Shakespeare's plays are somewhat in dispute (including, of course, "The Tempest", conventionally dated six or seven years after Oxford died in 1604). And if Shakespeare of Stratford upon Avon's died in 1616, how was he "Our ever-living poet" (i.e. dead) in 1609?

Personally, though, I'm a Marlovian -- any theory that involves a secret agent writing plays in his spare time, faking his own death to escape execution, and then writing plays of Shakespeare from his exile in Italy gets my vote :)

Re:Marlowe! (1)

tabrnaker (741668) | more than 5 years ago | (#27235319)

How exactly is anybody supposed to know when it was written? It may have taken shakespeare 9 years to copy it by hand and then put the play on.

Not sure about you, but if i was going to steal somebodies work, i'd certainly wait until they're dead to put on the play :)

Re:It's Bacon, not Shakespeare! (1)

indi0144 (1264518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27203529)

I've read somewhere that Shakespeare is the surname that Bacon used in literary works. That explains the insights that Shakespeare had with the ruling class and why theres so little info about "Shakespeare" in the crown registries.

Re:It's Bacon, not Shakespeare! (1)

Tenebrousedge (1226584) | more than 5 years ago | (#27207835)

There's not a lack of information about him in the crown registries.

1) There's probably more information than we know about. These registries are not the most legible things in the world, and they're not organized particularly well. Honestly they sound like about the worst thing ever to try to decipher.

2) We know a great deal about Shakespeare compared to almost any other playwright from the time.

I hesitate to recommend Bill Bryson's work on the subject. He seems to be a popular author, but I don't particularly enjoy his books. It's a decent enough summary of what is and is not known of the life of W. Shakespeare. Then again, so is Wikipedia.

Lots of common features (5, Interesting)

dwhitaker (1500855) | more than 5 years ago | (#27197837)

Whatever the end result is on the authenticity of either of these portraits, it seems every portrait shares the basic physical traits that we collectively think of as "Shakespeare". Moreover, from what I can tell they seem to be in line with his bust in Holy Trinity Church which was erected not terribly long after his death. It seems to me that if any of these portraits/busts/etc. had been far from the mark, there would have been some sort of protest from the people who knew him when he was alive (or commissioned the work). In the end, we will never know exactly what he looks like, but we do have a pretty good idea.

Re:Lots of common features (4, Funny)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 5 years ago | (#27197997)

In the end, we will never know exactly what he looks like, but we do have a pretty good idea.

And it's a pity someone so talented did not write an autobiography... at least then we could have looked at the dust jacket inside the back cover...

Re:Lots of common features (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27198547)

My cousin Bert Baldrick, Mr Gainsborough's butler's dogsbody, says that he's heard that all portraits look the same these days, 'cause they're painted to a romantic ideal rather than as a true depiction of the idiosyncratic facial qualities of the person in question.

Average the images (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 5 years ago | (#27199041)

Normalise the sizes. Pick points on the images which mark particular features (corner of eye for instance) and then average them to reduce the errors.

e.g.
http://www.faceresearch.org/demos/average [faceresearch.org]
 

Re:Average the images (1)

dkf (304284) | more than 5 years ago | (#27200547)

Normalise the sizes. Pick points on the images which mark particular features (corner of eye for instance) and then average them to reduce the errors.

Won't help if lots of the images are of the wrong people. That would just make the face look more average overall.

Re:Lots of common features (1)

mysticgoat (582871) | more than 5 years ago | (#27200555)

Your quote made me realize that it has now been many years since I have trusted the realism of any photos. Aside from photos that I remember from the days before shopping, I know that I will never have any idea of exactly how anyone looks.

PS: I love the GIMP.

Re:Lots of common features (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 5 years ago | (#27200873)

What about the persons you meet in real? OK, their look still might be changed by make-up, colored hair, etc ...

Re:Lots of common features (1)

shellbeach (610559) | more than 5 years ago | (#27208205)

Whatever the end result is on the authenticity of either of these portraits, it seems every portrait shares the basic physical traits that we collectively think of as "Shakespeare".

Except that the argument for this portrait being genuine is simply that the others are copies of it! So of course they all look alike! (for example, the painting that brought this most recent discovery to light was the Janssen portrait of Shakespeare, which is accepted to be an Elizabethan portrait of an unknown sitter deliberately doctored about a hundred years after it was painted to look more like Shakespeare (see this article [folger.edu] by the curator of the Folger library ...)

(And from TFA: "Professor Wells said today: '... it could certainly be the basis for the engraving seen in the First Folio.'")

Painting must be photoshopped (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27197901)

I don't see what the big deal is. Look, if you put an unlimited amount of monkeys in a room with paint supplies and canvas, eventually they would have made that painting... right?

Re:Painting must be photoshopped (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27197937)

Nope. They'll probably die because you forgot the food.

Re:Painting must be photoshopped (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27198165)

look asshole, it's 2009. We have a half-black man as president. And you want to lock up all the porch monkeys in a room with paint supplies???!!?! I hope your wife gets raped by a nigger, you racist cocksucker.

Re:Painting must be photoshopped (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27198353)

I pay [wikipedia.org] to see my wife be raped by niggers, you insensitive clod!

Shakespeare Unread. (0, Troll)

pilsner.urquell (734632) | more than 5 years ago | (#27197983)

Shakespeare, Makespeare. Just another bunch of Clichés strung together.

Re:Shakespeare Unread. (1)

warp1 (231206) | more than 5 years ago | (#27199571)

Shakespeare, Makespeare. Just another bunch of Clichés strung together.

True and untrue, most of them have morphed into something that is more recognizable by today's standards.
 
... for mine own part, it was Greek to me.
            -- The Tragedy of Julius Caesar Act I, Scene 2
Has changed to:
It's all Greek to me

And

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark
                -- Hamlet Act 1, scene 4
Has changed to:
Something Is Rotten In Denmark

BTW Hamlet must have taken place in a small town hence the name.

'Shopped (2, Funny)

yotto (590067) | more than 5 years ago | (#27197985)

That's totally Photoshopped. I can see the streak marks.

Re:'Shopped (1)

Daimanta (1140543) | more than 5 years ago | (#27199317)

Well, I can see it from all the pixels and having seen quite a few shops in my time.

But that's just me.

How many years old? (4, Informative)

a whoabot (706122) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198029)

Right now the summary reads: "...NYTimes a few days back of what is believed to be a 500-year-old portrait of William Shakespeare, painted 6 years before his death."

If the portrait is 500 years old, and it was painted 6 years before his death, I believe I'm being told that Shakespeare died in AD 2009 - 500 + 6 = 1515. This page [shakespeare-online.com] says that Shakespeare was born 1564. How could Shakespeare have died before he was born? Even if this is true though, and he lived his entire life and wrote all his works while in his mother's womb and died in there in 1515, how could his corpse remain in there for some 49 years when he was still-born? And besides this, how did he develop bodily and mentally in utero such that he was able to lead a life as he did? How did he compose and direct and act? And then how did the artist figure what Shakespeare looked like? Is that the news I'm missing here? Did they have some sort of ultra-sound technology in 1509 and we've just re-discovered this now?

Re:How many years old? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27198129)

Kidding aside, there was only one significant figure in that statistic. They can't come up with the exact year if they wanted to (by means available today).

Summary is wrong (3, Funny)

colinrichardday (768814) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198221)

The article uses 400, rather than 500, years, so the summary is wrong. And why is your post modded funny instead of informative?

Re:Summary is wrong (1)

jmansfield (415925) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198909)

The funny part is the math! I believe that when a number is in a bracket, you need to treat it differently ;-)

2009 - (500 + 6) = 2009 - 500 *-* 6 = 1503

But given that the original article say 400 years, that brings it to 1603, when he was actually alive.

Re:Summary is wrong (1)

a whoabot (706122) | more than 5 years ago | (#27199915)

Good thing I didn't put them in brackets then, because then I would have calculated the year which is six years before the painting was made, and not the year of his death, which is what I was so facetiously looking for. ;-)

Re:Summary is wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27202599)

It's funny how he enlarged the little typo into a long paragraph. Too bad kdawson has fat fingers.

Re:How many years old? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27200399)

He was just that good, that's how.

Re:How many years old? (1)

shellbeach (610559) | more than 5 years ago | (#27208249)

If the portrait is 500 years old, and it was painted 6 years before his death, I believe I'm being told that Shakespeare died in AD 2009 - 500 + 6 = 1515. This page [shakespeare-online.com] says that Shakespeare was born 1564. How could Shakespeare have died before he was born?

You believe it's the year 2009, when in fact it's closer to 2109. I can't tell you exactly what year it is because we honestly don't know ...

(You think that's air you're breathing now?)

i've never read any 'master shake' (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27198147)

was he really that great? i mean, not many people even cared enough to take a picture.

Meatwad gets the money see (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27198445)

Meatwad gets the honeys G.

Fake! (2, Funny)

kramulous (977841) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198173)

An elaborate fake perhaps, but still a fake. Yes, the frame is made from trees from the period but the only difference between the canvas and existing paintings is that this time the man has a beard and features painted in a different light.

Even a moderate understudy of art could have produced this.

Or, doth mine eyes deceive me?

Re:Fake! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27198291)

What other paintings from that time period have you seen? The New Yorker article only mentions an engraving and a sculpture.

Also, what do you mean the only difference is that he has a beard and his features are painted in a different light? His clothes are different, so what are you hoping for - that it turns out he was black? If anything, the eyes and nose are different enough from the two known renderings to give me pause.

I'm not yet convinced that it's authentic, but I don't yet see a reason why it can't be. It would be interesting to have someone use face-aging software to compare the sculpture and the painting. Can't they date the paint itself to see when it was made or applied?

Fascinating (whether fake or not) (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198307)

Or, doth mine eyes deceive me?

Horatio:
O day and night, but this is wondrous strange!

Hamlet:
And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

-- Hamlet, Act I, Scene V

Re:Fake! (1)

Tenebrousedge (1226584) | more than 5 years ago | (#27207901)

Allow me to share a well-worn anecdote.

There once was an art dealer who occasionally received pieces from the great master, Picasso. Of course, even in that day there was a great market for fake art, and Picasso had a relatively easy style to duplicate. So the dealer would take some of the paintings he was not sure about to the master and say, "Master, did you paint this?" and Picasso would say one way or another, most often that the painting was fake.

The dealer grew suspicious however, and one day he goes to Picasso with a painting. "Master, is this a fake?"

Picasso looks a long while at the painting, and says finally, "It is a fake."

"But master! I saw this painting on your easel just last week!"

"Oh yes. I paint many fakes."

Old Trees does not authenticity make... (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198443)

> Scientific studies at Cambridge showed that the oak panel on which the Cobbe portrait was mounted came from trees felled in the last 20 years of the 16th century, pointing to a date for the painting in the early 1600s."

Big deal. Go find any church being torn down and you can find really old timbers, pews, rafters, tables, etc.

Its not hard to get old wood, especially since the advent of Viagra.

Re:Old Trees does not authenticity make... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27235409)

right, and i'm sure the forger has a carbon dater to make sure the wood came from the right period. Then performed magic on it to turn a stick into a panel.

Do you even have a brain?

Rosy? (1)

danboid (300692) | more than 5 years ago | (#27198693)

"His face is open and alive, with a rosy..."

Rosy eh?

However, Eric Phelps, author of Vatican Assassins, would insist that this is not the 'Rosicrucian mask' of the Baconian's but that the Spear shaker's true identity was that of Edward de Vere, Seventeenth Earl of Oxford.

Whatever the real identity of these folks I'll bet my ballsack they're all Widows sons.

Ah shit, he's GAY... (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#27199051)

Quick, burn all his damn books!

Re:Ah shit, he's GAY... (1)

bcrowell (177657) | more than 5 years ago | (#27200481)

It is kind of funny when people play the game of trying to figure out whether famous people from hundreds of years ago were gay. Isaac Newton is another good example. In that era, they would put a man to death if he was caught having sex with another man, so there was a heck of a strong incentive to hide it, and that's why we're unlikely to ever know for sure. There's also the whole issue of whether it makes sense to apply a modern term like "gay." Some men today who consider themselves gay believe that it's part of their genetic makup, which wouldn't even have been a concept Shakespeare and Newton would have understood. Other men today have sex with other men, but don't consider themselves gay. The one good reason I can see for indulging in this kind of speculation is that growing up gay in, say, the U.S. these days is pretty damn tough, and it might make it easier if you had role models from history, so you could say to yourself, "Newton and Shakespeare survived this, and I will, too."

Re:Ah shit, he's GAY... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27202019)

Some men today who consider themselves gay believe that it's part of their genetic makup, which wouldn't even have been a concept Shakespeare and Newton would have understood.

Which it wouldn't need to be, because as you say, only some (mostly North American) gays believe that, and it doesn't define the concept of being gay. Of course modern concepts of homosexual, gay, queer, etc. are historically contingent. But still I as a gay person have a lot in common with sodomites, mollies and an equivalent character in an Aristophanes play. And speaking of sodomites, these times are not as distant as I wish they were, even in the Western world. Many people still guide themselves by the Bible and the word "faggot" is very much alive. As long as there is heteronormativity, there will be faggots.

Re:Ah shit, he's GAY... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27205411)

Considering that heterosexuality is the norm, wishing otherwise means you'll just be disappointed.

Despite the best efforts of academics (1)

efudddd (312615) | more than 5 years ago | (#27199221)

and those with a vested interested (the proclaimer of this discovery is the "Chairman of The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust"), Shakespeare's identity itself continues to be hotly debated because there is precious little _real_ evidence for the traditional candidate. (Harpers Magazine had a good full-length feature interviewing proponents of different theories ten years ago, and AFAIK none of them have changed their minds since then.) If, like me, you are one of those poor individuals believing the evidence of who he was is both inadequate and unsettled (see upthread snark re Marlowe and Bacon), a face attached to a tenuous familial attribute to the wrong person is not exciting.

I disagree (viscerally) with Joseph Sobran on political issues, but found the book he wrote suggesting Edward de Vere as Shakespeare to contain both a well-researched, logical consideration of the available _factual_ evidence (vanishingly small despite the volumes that have been written) and a fair argument for his candidate.

Basically, Stanley Wells is bypassing the argument as presettled, and given his position, who could blame him? For all that, given the dating and general provenance, the picture might actually _be_ of Shakespeare, but it ain't based on anything more factual than the several other portraits with sketchy attributions from the same time period.

I guess .... (2, Funny)

PPH (736903) | more than 5 years ago | (#27201329)

.... this is the earliest recorded instance of "Pics or it didn't happen".

STUPID! STUPID!! STUPID!!! (2, Insightful)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 5 years ago | (#27203173)

Scientific studies at Cambridge showed that the oak panel on which the Cobbe portrait was mounted came from trees felled in the last 20 years of the 16th century, pointing to a date for the painting in the early 1600s.

Why do you have to mix two different measurement systems to the confusion of the readers? Why give dates as both 16th century (meaning the 1500s) and 1600s (meaning the 17th century) in the same d@mn sentence? Pick one method and stick with it!

Re:Anal? Anal! Anal!! (1)

zurtle (785688) | more than 5 years ago | (#27205565)

He's writing a /. post, not a technical spec. If you read history books for long enough you'll soon get bored reading the same thing over and over again. Sounds like you need to hang with Mr Cowper: "variety is the spice of life", after all. ;-)

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