The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 12.1461 Tuesday, 12 June 2001
From: Leslie Thomson <
Date: Monday, 11 Jun 2001 10:48:30 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: An Article from the Globeandmail.com Web Centre
The following is an article from the Globeandmail.com Web Centre. This
might be of interest to those in the Toronto area.
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globeandmail.com, Monday, June 11, 2001
Shakespeare portrait to hang at AGO
By STEPHANIE NOLEN
For Monday's Globe and Mail
In two weeks, the fans, the critics, the hopers and the doubters can
decide for themselves.
The Sanders portrait of Shakespeare, reputed to be the only likeness of
the playwright painted during his lifetime, will be on display for
public scrutiny at the Art Gallery of Ontario in Toronto beginning June
The exhibit will be titled simply Shakespeare? and it will in effect be
the first public display of the portrait. It was displayed in the early
1960s in a department-store gallery, but at that time, it was thought to
be a fake, having been dismissed by a critic in 1909 as not old enough.
Testing by the Canadian Conservation Institute in the last six years has
found that in fact the portrait was done with paint and on wood that
dates from around the early 1600s.
"By engaging in a project like this, the AGO is making an important
statement about what museums can be for the public: a lively forum for
open-ended debate, discussion and discovery," Matthew Teitelbaum, the
gallery's director, said. "We are pleased if we can play a role in the
resolution of this fascinating art-historical mystery."
The portrait belongs to a retired Ontario engineer and has been passed
down in his family for 400 years. According to family lore, it was
painted by John Sanders, a bit actor in Shakespeare's company. A label
on the back of the portrait identifies the subject as Shakespeare,
painted in 1603 at the age of 39. The two images of the English
playwright that most scholars agree are authentic were both made after
The owner said he was delighted with the gallery's request to exhibit
the painting. "I'm sure our painting will create a lot of interest," he
said. "This will afford all lovers of Shakespeare an opportunity to come
to the gallery and see what I believe, based on what our research has
uncovered, to be the true image of Shakespeare at age 39."
The exhibit will include other Elizabethan artifacts and educational
materials to illustrate the debate that has raged among Shakespeare
scholars and art historians since the existence of the portrait was
reported in The Globe a month ago. Both the painting and the paper label
on the back will be visible for scrutiny.
The exhibit will run until late September, as part of the museum's main
collection (and thus covered by its pay-what-you-can admission policy.)
Copyright 2001 | Globe Interactive, a division of Bell Globemedia
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook,
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