Portrait artist Nelson Shanks isn’t afraid to voice his grievances against Bill Clinton. In an interview with the Philadelphia Daily News, Shanks bluntly called Clinton “the most famous liar of all time.”
Clinton was reportedly nervous when he learned that Shanks would be painting his portrait for the National Portrait Gallery, and it turns out his anxieties were merited.
Shanks told the Philadelphia Daily News this week that he placed not one but two Monica Lewinsky references in Clinton’s portrait. In the portrait, a tall and confident Clinton stands in front of a White House fireplace with his hand on his hip. If you look closely, though, you’ll notice a few purposeful details in the picture. Here’s what Shanks has to say about them.
“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,” Shanks told the Philadelphia Daily News. “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.”
After the painting’s release in 2006, keen observers were quick to note that Shanks didn’t paint a wedding band on Clinton’s finger. Here, courtesy of the Inquisitr, is the painting:
Shanks said he felt almost obligated to reference Clinton’s infamous affair in the painting.
“Clinton was hard [to capture],” Shanks said. “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.”
For the record, the Clintons reportedly hate the painting.