Marlowe portrait

The portrait

The Marlowe portrait is an unsigned portrait on a wooden panel, dated 1585, which was re-discovered in 1953 during renovations at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge.[1][2]

It has been widely suggested that the portrait depicts the English playwright Christopher Marlowe (1564–1593), a theory first advanced in 1955 by Marlovian Calvin Hoffman. No other portrait of Marlowe is known to exist.[3]:214[4][5]

The portrait is of a man, 21 years old, and expensively dressed. He wears a doublet, possibly velvet, with rows of golden buttons. The pattern on the doublet is made by cuts in the cloth, showing the lining under.[6] The man's stated age and the date on the painting match Marlowe's time at the college, but the evidence is inconclusive, and it could be another student.[1] The latin motto in the upper left corner reads "Quod me nutrit me destruit", in English "That which nourishes me destroys me".[3]:66[6]

The portrait has become firmly associated with Marlowe, and is often used to depict him.[7] It hangs in the dining hall at Corpus Christi College.[6]

See also


  1. ^ a b Logan, Robert A. (2017). Christopher Marlowe. Routledge. pp. Chapter 4. ISBN 9781351951647. Retrieved 8 August 2019.
  2. ^ Wham, Benjamin (May 1960). "'Marlowe's Mighty Line': Was Marlowe Murdered at Twenty-nine?". American Bar Association Journal. American Bar Association. 46 (5): 509–513. eISSN 2162-7975. ISSN 0002-7596. JSTOR 25721185 – via JSTOR.
  3. ^ a b Wraight, A. D. (1965). In search of Christopher Marlowe: a pictorial biography. The Vanguard Press.
  4. ^ Nicholl, Charles (25 January 2013). "Exiting the Stage". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 August 2019. A supposed portrait from 1585 shows a sardonic-looking young man in a snazzy velvet doublet, though the evidence that it is him is tenuous, and to identify the portrait as Marlowe’s is in itself a kind of fictionalizing.
  5. ^ "What feeds me, destroys me: Christopher Marlowe and Corpus Christi". Varsity Online. Retrieved 8 August 2019. Despite any real documentary evidence, it is indeed almost universally said to show the Corpus-educated playwright.
  6. ^ a b c Nicholl, Charles (1995). The Reckoning: The Murder of Christopher Marlowe. University of Chicago Press. pp. 5-9. ISBN 9780226580241. portrait.
  7. ^ Hopkins, Lisa (2005). A Christopher Marlowe Chronology. Springer. p. 191. ISBN 9780230503045. Retrieved 9 August 2019.

Further reading

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