"There are plenty of them I've made nervous. Especially Clinton. Oh, he was petrified."
Who wouldn't be petrified of this man directing his piercing owl eyes on you?
( via Philadelphia Daily News)
Yesterday, famous portrait artist Nelson Shanks told to the Philadelphia Daily News that he isn't afraid of any of the famous subjects who have sat for them, but that former president Bill Clinton was definitely afraid of him. Turns out, he had every right to be.
Shanks revealed that he painted a hidden meaning into his portrait of the 42nd president that now hangs in the National Portrait Gallery. The artist, who has had Princess Diana and Pope John Paul II sit for him, painted a Monika Lewisnky shadow right behind the scandalized prez.
Right below the plant, that's the "blue dress."
Shanks explains that while Clinton was not actually present, he put a blue dress on a mannequin to represent Lewinsky, which cast a shadow on the mantle.
"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."
The shadow didn't only hang over Clinton, but also Shank's impression of him, claiming that he could "never get this Monica thing completely out of my mind."
"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."
Shanks tells the Daily News, "the Clintons hate the portrait."
Artistic liberty, baby, but not all Shanks's subjects object to his creative license. He told the Daily News that Margaret Thatcher, who Nelson has painted, appreciated his thoughtfulness, and complimented him by saying, "Nelson is not only a painter, he's a philosopher."
If you'll note, he also philosophized Clinton's wedding ring off of his hand.