Monday, March 02, 2015

Bill Clinton's NPG portrait contains Monica Lewinsky reference

Stephanie Farr from the Philadelphia Daily News interviewed the well-known PA portrait artist Nelson Shanks, whose portrait of President Bill Clinton hangs at the NPG. 

And this came out:
Q: Who did you find was the hardest to capture?
Clinton was hard. I'll tell you why. The reality is he's probably the most famous liar of all time. He and his administration did some very good things, of course, but I could never get this Monica thing completely out of my mind and it is subtly incorporated in the painting.
If you look at the left-hand side of it there's a mantle in the Oval Office and I put a shadow coming into the painting and it does two things. It actually literally represents a shadow from a blue dress that I had on a mannequin, that I had there while I was painting it, but not when he was there. It is also a bit of a metaphor in that it represents a shadow on the office he held, or on him.
And so the Clintons hate the portrait. They want it removed from the National Portrait Gallery. They're putting a lot of pressure on them. [Reached by phone Thursday, a spokeswoman from the National Portrait Gallery denied that.]
What a brilliant example of the power of an artist to make history! This will make this portrait the most famous and visited and chuckled about Presidential portrait at the NPG! Velazquez did something similar with a variety of hidden (and some later deleted) clues in Las Meninas centuries ago, and one of them, when discovered 500 years later, changed the Spanish crown's line to the throne from the first male born to the first born, period!

I couldn't wait to contact a good friend at the NPG and ask him/her if the claim about the pressure being put on the NPG is true! Let me see if we/she/him can find some internal NPG emails on the subject that we can publish here!

Read the article here.