Commonplace Book- Bill Clinton

Doing some research into what DC has to offers I stumbled upon the National Portrait Gallery (yet again). Looking at the “highlights” of this museum I was not surprised to see the presidential portraits listed as a “must see”. And so, as the internet tends to do, I clicked away at several links until I was deep inside the internet. One click led to another and eventually I arrived at an article describing the controversy behind the artist, Nelson Shanks’ portrait of Bill Clinton. Nelson Shank painted the formal portrait for Bill Clinton, and like many of his other works, it was hung in the National Portrait Gallery. The article described the subtle shadow of a blue dress that the artist placed in the painting and the underlying meaning that it has. On the left side of the painting, there is an unformed shadow. The artist revealed that this shadow is of a dress that he purposely laid by him while he painted. He said that it was meant to represent the blue dress from Bill Clinton’s infamous scandal; it represents none other than Monica Lewinsky. The artist claims that he deliberately placed this here in order to subtly show that Clinton is perhaps one of the best liars of the century. The Clintons realized this and in their frustration demanded that it be taken down. Looking at the rhetoric behind this painting, it is obvious that the artist saw great importance in detailing Clinton in this manner, even if it meant risking that his painting not be seen. Yes, the painting was taken down, however, the significance still lives on in things such as the articles that have been written about it. In other words, the artist was successful.


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