The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust has just announced today the appearance of the new "Cobbe Portrait" of William Shakespeare. It's conjectured and believed to be possibly the only true portrait of William Shakespeare that was painted during his lifetime.
"The research conclusively demonstrates that the Cobbe picture is the prime version of the portrait and establishes beyond reasonable doubt its descent to the Cobbes through their cousin’s marriage to the great granddaughter of Shakespeare’s only literary patron, Henry Wriothesley, the 3rd Earl of Southampton.
...The conclusion that the sitter is Shakespeare is strengthened by the fact that the original picture, the Cobbe portrait, was inscribed with a quotation from the Classical writer, Horace, taken from an ode addressed to a playwright."
The claim is backed with scientific research:
"The original and its copies are being considered together as a group for the very first time. Additional scientific investigation has been carried out to support the research including examination by x-ray at the Hamilton Kerr Institute, Cambridge, treering dating by Professor Peter Klein, Department of Wood Science, Hamburg University and infra-red reflectography by Tager Stonor Richardson."
Either it's the real thing, a mistake or another elaborate British hoax based on wishful thinking and financial incentives, of which there have been numerous precedents. With the imprimatur of the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, this is the painting that should create news of interest to all fans of William Shakespeare and art history. For more information, please read the website of The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. The Lede article in The New York Times has a video of the unveiling.