2 of 20 portraits of Rupert Brooke
by Clara Ewald
oil on canvas, 1911
21 1/2 in. x 29 in. (546 mm x 737 mm)
Given by the artist's son, Professor P.P. Ewald, 1972
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The young Rupert Brooke, handsome, well-bred and full of promise as a poet, sat to the German artist Clara Ewald when he was staying in Munich in spring 1911. He was not enjoying himself and missed Cambridge terribly; but fortunately he had an introduction to Ewald and made friends with her son Paul, who was studying physics at Munich University. According to Paul Ewald, 'He would come in for tea and often stay for supper. My impression was that he found it very difficult to adapt himself to Germany and that in his thoughts he lived more in Cambridge than in Munich. This he expresses himself in his letters. So, partly perhaps to cheer him up, my mother painted him.' Most of the people who had known Rupert Brooke reckoned that the result was not a very good likeness - indeed, a later version, which was presented to King's College, Cambridge, caused a great deal of controversy, not least because it was regarded by some of the dons as too effeminate. It has however become one of the images by which he is now well known, including the hat, which he borrowed for the occasion from the artist's son.