Awhile back I wrote a post about a picture that was claimed to be one of the few paintings of Shakespeare painted while he was still alive.
On comparing the Cobbe and Janssen portraits, and referring also to the Droeshout engraving and the four previously authenticated true-to-life images (the Chandos and Flower portraits, the Davenant bust and the death mask), the Shakespeare specialist Hammerschmidt-Hummel found discrepancies between the Cobbe and Janssen portraits. Her investigations showed that the painter of the Janssen portrait was quite familiar with Shakespeare’s characteristic features and with the symptoms of his early-stage illnesses. The artist who painted the Cobbe picture, however, was not acquainted with all the morphological characteristics of Shakespeare’s face, and in particular was unaware of pathological details, apart from a slight swelling of the left upper eyelid, of which there is only a “suggestion” in his portrait. These differences were confirmed by an authority in the diagnosis of pathological signs in Renaissance portraiture, the dermatologist Professor Jost Metz, in his professional opinion of 12 March 2009.
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