The artist who painted the official portrait of Bill Clinton currently hanging in the National Portrait Gallery says he also slipped in a sly reference to Monica Lewinsky and "the Clintons hate [it.]"
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.
Shanks was commissioned to paint the president in 2006, saying at the time, "There are times when I love to play all kinds of complicated games in painting... But I think this is one case when I need to be fairly straightforward."
It's not clear what changed, or how the Clintons even figured out significance of the shadow, but Shanks claims they've been trying to bury the portrait ever since.
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.]