President and Mrs. Bill Clinton were smiling in 2006 at the unveiling of his National Portrait Gallery painting (above), but they sure aren’t smiling now!As noted at the time, President Clinton’s wedding ring is missing in the portrait, but now artist Nelson Shanks has added a new wrinkle to the story in an interview about his work in the Philadelphia Daily News:
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 mantel 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.]
Here’s a picture of Shanks working on the portrait almost 10 years ago and you can even see the blue dress:
Here is a larger version of the finished portrait – do you see the shadow of the blue dress on the fireplace?