What’s Your Favorite Shakespeare Portrait?

This question had me curious over the weekend.  There are many portraits claiming to be Shakespeare – Droeshout, Chandos, Cobbe, Flowers, Jansen, Sanders, etc…    So, two part question:

Image : Cobbe, Chandos, Droeshout

Which one do you like most? Second, Which do you think is likely to be the most accurate?  (I realize that image only combines 3 of many, feel free to make a case for your own favorite even if it’s not in there.)

Note, these are not the same question. I happen to use the Chandos for my branding because I get sick of the Droeshout. Whenever I see it I immediately associate that image with generic public domain mass marketing, and that makes me think “Shakespeare at his most shallow.”  The Chandos image, whether realistic or not, portrays more of what others have called a “roguish” image.  That’s an image that I hope says, “You may think you’re familiar with Shakespeare, but there’s more there if you care to look deeper.”

Droeshout may have the best claim, what with it appearing on the first page of the Folio.  But where did it come from? Was it painted from life, or copied from another source?

I like that the Cobbe is the newest addition to the collection, but honestly I’ve lost track on its status. I know that some prominent names are backing it (I also know that Professor Stanley Wells, one such prominent figure, may be listening), but last time I looked there were numerous articles that suggested it was not Shakespeare.  Somebody feel free to enlighten me on where we stand.

4 thoughts on “What’s Your Favorite Shakespeare Portrait?

  1. Chandos. Asbolutely.
    I think you're right in as much as the Droeshout probably has the best claim – after all, his mates thought it was good enough to stick it on the Folio – but it's clearly not good portraiture no matter what he looked like.
    Chandos is just a wonderful painting, and as an image of Shakespeare it's very appealing. Far more so than the the Nicholas Hilliard miniature, which I really dislike.

  2. I happen to prefer the Grafton portrait…simply because I have been told that I bear more than a passing resemblance to it.

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