In a recent interview with the Philadelphia Daily News, painter Nelson Shanks revealed that his rendering of Bill Clinton, currently hanging in the National Portrait Gallery, contains a reference to the "shadow" Monica Lewinsky cast over his presidency. Oh boy.
Shanks, who has painted everyone from Princess Diana to Pope John Paul II, remarked that Clinton was the hardest to capture because "he's probably the biggest liar of all time." He cheated on me after three whole weeks together! When will 7th grade be over???
"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."
Alternatively, that mannequin shadow is a metaphor for the fact that this painter (also, America) has not quite mastered the art of perspective.
Image via Getty
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