Secret clues embedded in paintings is the stuff of which fiction is made. Think “DaVinci Code.”
But it turns out that the artist commissioned to do the official painting of President Bill Clinton that now hangs in the National Portrait Gallery did hide a reference in the work — and not just any reference. It is a reminder of one of the most scandalous moments in Bubba’s two terms in the White House: His “dalliance” with intern Monica Lewinsky.
Nelson Shanks, the man behind the masterpiece, was interviewed by the Philadelphia Daily News. During the Q & A, he was asked about the subject he found it hardest to capture. Here is his reply:
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.
At least there is no mystery about what will appear in Barack Obama’s official portrait. Here in fact is a sneak preview: