The artist who created the portrait of President Bill Clinton that hangs in the National Portrait Gallery has admitted he sneaked a subtle reference to the Lewinsky scandal into the background of the painting.
Painter Nelson Shanks told the Philadelphia Daily News on Friday that a shadow in the 2006 painting, which can be seen falling on the mantle of the Oval Office fireplace, was more than it appeared:
“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,” Shanks said. “It is also a bit of a metaphor in that it represents a shadow on the office he held, or on him.”
Shanks claimed that the Clintons “hate” the painting and have lobbied for its removal from the National Portrait Gallery, a claim the museum’s spokesperson denied.