Left Behinds

The anti-andrewsullivan.com. Or, the Robin Hood (Maid Marian?) of bright pink Blogger blogs.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

"To Beguile the Time, / Look Like the Time"

Last weekend I saw the "Searching for Shakespeare" show at the Yale Center for British Art. Eight portraits (all included in this show) have over the centuries been seriously considered to be his likenesses, and the curators make a good argument that, based on very recent analysis, only three are viable candidates (and, interestingly, these three likenesses do not really look very alike).

The most unexpected of the three is the Taylor portrait, a medium-sized, heavily damaged painting (which is not protected by glass or anything other than viewers' self restraint). The Shakespeare depicted in this painting is not the Shakespeare adorning most Shakespeare Portfolios. He's a brainy little bohemian intellectual with a shiny hoop earring.

According to this NYT Review.

Some critics in the Victorian and Edwardian eras dismissed the Taylor work because it didn't show Shakespeare as a proper, respectable Briton. In his 1864 book on Shakespeare portraits J. Hain Friswell wrote, "One cannot readily imagine our essentially English Shakespeare to have been a dark, heavy man, with a foreign expression, of decidedly Jewish physiognomy, thin curly hair, a somewhat lubricious mouth, red-edged eyes, wanton lips, with a coarse expression and his ears tricked out with earrings."

Who Shakespeare looked like, really

was Paul Giamatti.

Tags: culture, shakespeare, giamatti, art


  • At 12:04 PM, Blogger Mark Hansen said…

    I really like the Taylor/Chandos portrait, and here is why. Take the Droeshout engraving & the Taylor portrait, and put them side by side; you will see what I mean. Now, you can't look at one, and then the other; they literally have to be "side by side" to see the resemblance (you may have to print one out to do it). Mark

  • At 12:23 PM, Blogger Antid Oto said…

    Weird. They're, like, exactly the same, down to the tilt of the head and the direction of the eyes. Only the engraving makes him look even uglier.

  • At 2:44 AM, Blogger Emma B said…

    That nose is NOT jewish. Mine is.


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