We have come far in this, our celebration of Great Men who donned Great Beards. We have touched the heavens, visited great scientists, artists, Presidents, Hollywood stars, musicians and more. For this, the final installment of Great Bearded Men, I pay tribute to a Man of Great literary prowess. A Great Man whose stories have captivated audiences for hundreds of years across the globe.
William Shakespeare stands beards apart from the literary giants of history. His brilliant works included comedies, histories and perhaps most famously, tragedies. Anthony and Cleopatra, King Lear, Julius Caesar, Hamlet and of course, Romeo and Juliet all have the name Shakespeare at the bottom. But there is something mysterious about this last Great Bearded Man. No one truly knows what he looked like!
To the best of our knowledge, Shakespeare never commissioned a portrait. Most portraits of Shakespeare were completed after his death, some from descriptions of his general appearance, others completely fabricated! I have chosen the most famous Shakespeare portrait of all, the Chandos Portrait. It is believed to be the only one completed during his lifetime, giving it added credibility. No one knows who actually painted the portrait, nor if it’s really him, but the National Portrait Gallery believes it most likely is the Great Bearded Man of literature.