The Slatest

Can You Spot the Lewinsky Reference Hidden in Bill Clinton’s Official Portrait?

Clinton NPG paintings

He’s pointing right. At. The. Shadow.

Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

Look closely at the above portrait of Bill Clinton. Specifically, look between the fireplace and the plant, exactly where Bill Clinton’s hand is pointing and Hillary Clinton’s gaze is staring. What you should see is the shadow of a dress, not white and gold, but just plain blue. The artist behind Bill Clinton’s National Portrait Gallery painting says he snuck a reference to Monica Lewinsky’s infamous stained blue dress into the former president’s official portrait.

The painter, Nelson Shanks, told the Philadelphia Daily News that he intentionally placed a shadow from a blue dress that was meant to represent Lewinsky’s into the painting. More from the Philadelphia Daily News:

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 also said that the “Clintons hate the portrait” and have put a lot of pressure on the National Portrait Gallery to have it removed, but a spokeswoman from the museum denied the claim.