Monica Lewinsky is in a Bill Clinton portrait… sort of. According to USA Today, an artist by the name of Nelson Shanks painted a portrait of the former President for the National Portrait Gallery. Shanks included a nod to Clinton’s mistress in the portrait, and now he’s angry that it’s not on display. He wonders if the chatter surrounding Lewinsky’s artistic mention caused a problem.
— BBC Radio 4 Today (@BBCr4today) March 4, 2015
“Maybe [the painting] doesn’t look as formal as they wanted. I rather doubt that they got the Lewinsky angle. I was never going to mention it to anyone, but with the tremendous mistreatment on my part in that it’s been spirited away, I felt this was a good stimulus to open a conversation.”
The Lewinsky Clinton portrait has been removed from the gallery for five years now. Shanks says that his painting has been placed into storage where it will stay forever. Shanks believes that the Clintons were the ones behind the decision to take the painting down. The museum claims, however, that the artwork was removed for other reasons that have nothing to do with people having problems with the now-apparent Lewinsky nod.
“It was not taken off view because of any outside requests,” said museum spokesperson Bethany Bentley.
For those who aren’t familiar with Shank’s painting, he decided that he wanted to do something symbolic to represent Clinton’s presidency. Shanks decided to use a blue dress (like the one Lewinsky infamously wore during an rendezvous with her boss) to cast a shadow on the canvas, and he painted the shadow on the portrait to represent the sort of dark cloud that tainted Clinton’s presidency.
— The Tennessean (@Tennessean) March 4, 2015
“I felt it necessary to depart from complete naiveté in the painting and put in a subtle, subtle shadow across his presidency,” Shanks explained.
The Lewinsky Clinton portrait was unveiled in 2006. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Shanks decided to leave out something as well: Clinton’s wedding ring. At the time that the portrait was unveiled, this caused controversy. No one really knew about the shadow until later on.
As previously reported by the Inquisitr, Shanks has painted some of the most iconic people from Princess Diana to Pope John Paul II. He says that painting Clinton was the most challenging task ever because he just couldn’t shake the scandal from his mind.
[Photo by Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images]