Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Newly Discovered: Is This Portrait of Shakespeare Authentic?

I AM SHAKESPEARE NOW DROP THAT GUN!
Update: here is much more detailed article in The Guardian.
Update 2: There's been some contention over whether the so-called Shakespeare might actually be a depiction of Dioscorides, but the later botanist is instead shown on the front end leaf and captioned as such, so that would seem to eliminate him from the frontispiece (see below). Also the dedication is to Lord Burghley (also below) which would seem to cement his identification on frontispiece.
Front End Leaf: Dioscorides (right) Folger Shakespeare Library
Dedication to Lord Burghley (Folger Library)
Well, I don't know much about this new, buff Shakespeare portrait yet, but if you want to look into the new portrait the best place to start is the Folger Digital Library, which has a high-resolution image of the book cover available.


For those of you unfamiliar with the new controversy aka new portrait, please follow this link for a BBC run-down of why respectable people think this might actually be Shakespeare.  According to the BBC some of the figures represented on the book cover depict:
They are the author Gerard, Rembert Dodoens, a renowned Flemish botanist, and Queen Elizabeth's Lord Treasurer, Lord Burghley.
Frontispiece Lord Burghley (left) and So-called Shakespeare (right) Folger Digital Library
 Shakespeare is identified apparently through some broken cipher code.       

Actually there are five cartoons depicted on the book cover, with so-called Shakespeare on the lower-right (not exactly the location of highest honor). 

The de-Vereian will be excited to see the juxtaposition of Lord Burghley (aka Polonious) to Shakespeare.  Burghley was de Vere's father-in-law.  

Personally I wish the sprite-like man holding the shovel (below) was actually Shakespeare. But that's just me.
(Figure upper left) NO, I AM THE REAL WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE!

I AM LORD BURGHLEY (figure lower left) BEWARE!

 I AM PRETTY SURE I'M NOT QUEEN ELIZABETH (central top figure)
BIG CORN MEANS SHAKESPEARE!
I AM APPARENTLY REMBERT DODOENS!

 I'M PRETTY SURE I MUST BE SHAKESPEARE!
All of the above details are from the Folger Shakespeare Library.  The Folger has the creation date listed as 1597.

Country Life Magazine originally broke the story.  Follow this link to article.

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