Weekly musings on the arts and current events.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
The Cobbe Portrait
A painting has come to light that may well be the only portrait of Shakespeare painted in his lifetime...that is, if it is indeed Shakespeare. I'm inclined to believe that it is. I'll go further: the painting reinforces my belief that the works we ascribe to Shakespeare were written by Will himself and not by some anonymous wizard behind the arras. After all, the painting is beautiful. Mind you, I haven't seen it "in person" but it looks first rate to me. Depth, sensitivity, workmanship, everything.
Now why does the quality of the painting make me think that Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare? It's because I think the artist, as yet unnamed, respected his subject and sought to depict his intelligence. It's because Shakespeare chose well in selecting whom to sit for. It's because geniuses tend to seek each other out.
The arguments against Shakespeare's authorship all seem to leave out that he was an exceptional man, completely capable, despite his middle class upbringing, of nobly educating himself and imagining his way into the souls of kings. The arguments also leave out that this man was no doubt revered by his contemporaries, whether commoners or gentry. An artist given the chance to paint his portrait would do his best to rise to the occasion, and this one most certainly did.
Now, why didn't he sign it?