Fake-speare: Scholar Says Bard Portrait Is a Phony

400-year-old painting was swapped, she says
By Sam Gale Rosen,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 25, 2007 1:34 PM CDT

(Newser) – A famous portrait of Shakespeare owned by the Royal Shakespeare Company is a fake—a 19th-century imitation that replaced the older original sometime in the past decade, a German scholar claimed yesterday. “Where is the priceless 400-year-old original 'Flower' portrait?” she asks, saying that the painting appears different this year than when she last examined it in 1996.

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No one disputes that the portrait isn't 400 years old. The National Portrait Gallery analyzed it in 2005 and found that it contained a yellow paint available only after 1814. The bone of contention is whether the RSC's painting used to NOT be a fake. "The idea that this picture has been substituted between 1996 and 2005 is nonsensical," says a curator. (Read more William Shakespeare stories.)

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