Skip to comments.Will the Real William Shakespeare Please Stand Up?
Posted on 03/08/2006 11:10:55 AM PST by nickcarraway
The first painting donated in 1856 to the new National Portrait Gallery here was of William Shakespeare, already well enshrined as the nation's literary idol. For the gallery, the oil recorded as NPG 1 seemed like a singularly apt founding work for its collection. And now, as the museum celebrates its 150th anniversary, it is again in the limelight.
But does this so-called Chandos portrait actually depict Shakespeare? Indeed, do any of dozens of other "Shakespeare" paintings and engravings offer a true likeness of the man who was born in Stratford-on-Avon in 1564 and died there in 1616?
These are the central questions addressed in "Searching for Shakespeare," a fascinating exhibition on view here through May 29. For this inquiry, the National Portrait Gallery has for the first time united the six oils most frequently said to portray Shakespeare. For further comparison, it is also presenting the 1623 engraving of him in the First Folio of his collected plays, as well as a plaster cast of the bust that was placed above his grave in Holy Trinity Church in Stratford sometime between 1620 and 1623.
And the answer? Well, for all the light that Shakespeare threw on human nature, his own life remains shadowy: his education, the "lost years" between 1585 and 1592, his relations with his wife and children and, yes, even his appearance are very much matters of conjecture.
Still, of all the competing paintings, the Chandos portrait has emerged as the strongest contender. "It's not absolutely watertight," said Tarnya Cooper, the gallery's curator for 16th-century painting, who organized the show, "but the evidence has increased. It is a portrait that probably represents Shakespeare, but will we ever have watertight evidence?"
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
Let me know, if you want to be put on the list.
Wow, nick, I didn't know there was a Shakespeare ping list. I would appreciate being on it. The things you can learn around this place......
If he stands up, being 500 years dead, I want to see it.
There are more ping lists in Heaven and on Earth than drempt of in you philosophy Horation, er, Speedy.
Not to mention the long-running controversy over whether Bill actually wrote all those plays.
Pikachu, you are a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy.
I pretty much agree, but we studied this "controversy" for several weeks in a high school English class.
The funny part for me was that in 1500 play-writing had the approximate social status that writing for the soaps has today. Yet those who believe somebody else wrote the plays think anybody from Oxford to Bacon to QE1 was sneaking around writing them, using Shakespeare for cover.
I've heard that the controversy over Shakespeare's plays authorship was started in the 19th century, by educated "elitists" who were insulted by the idea that a man who hadn't been to college could produce the body of plays attributed to him.
And I do agree that playwriting wasn't considered that high class of a deal during Shakespeare's lifetime. It was a way to make a living, it was popular entertainment, and it wasn't even intended to be published.
To Ping List or not to Ping List,
That is the question.
Wheather tis nobeler to suffer
high noise to volume lists,
Or, to hope to catch posts as they fly bye.
"As to who Shakespeare was...my views go no further than thinking that he was not Bacon. More probably he was Mary Queen of Scots." --GK Chesterton (Basil Grant, The Club of Queer Trades)
Did you mean to invoke the authorship debate, or just point out the generally-settled fact that the Bard played script doctor and collaborator on some of the lesser works attributed to him?
Authorship. Whether the Bard was a pen-name for some famous person using WS as a front.
Personally, I don't buy it, but there are a lot of people who do. Notable among them is Sobran, who has written a book claiming that the Earl of Oxford wrote Shakespeare's play and poems.
Please add me to the ping list...thank you.
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