Lewinsky reference hidden in Clinton portrait

Bill Clinton

The artist who painted a portrait of Bill Clinton, which now hangs in the National Portrait Gallery, says he left a Lewinsky reference in the painting.

Pennsylvania artist Nelson Shanks told the Philadelphia Daily News that he included a shadow of a blue dress in the 2006 portrait that hangs in the National Portrait Gallery. It’s an apparent reference to the Monica Lewinsky scandal, with Shanks adding that the 42nd president is “probably the most famous liar of all time.”

Smooth move, Nelson. He had this to say about his slyness to the Daily News:

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.

It has to be fun to sneak things like that into portraits, but if you’re commissioned to paint something like this it probably isn’t a good idea tell everybody what you did.

Nelson said that the Clinton’s have asked the painting be removed, but that claim was denied by a National Portrait Gallery spokeswoman.

Here is a picture of our class clown.

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[Politico] [Philadelphia Daily News] [AP Photo] [Elizabeth Robertson/Daily News]