Nelson Shanks is trending. He says he painted the shadow of deceit, lies and Monica Lewinsky’s blue dress into his portrait of Bill Clinton. The picture hangs in the Smithsonian. Brian Williams has not yet vouched for Shanks, but there’s still time. The interview in which Shanks reveals his Oval Office shenanigans is a veritable primer in artistic egomania. Shanks, truly an accomplished painter, makes some grandiose claims.
No one has ever made Shanks nervous, by his own testimony. But “there are plenty of them I’ve made nervous. Especially Clinton. Oh, he was petrified.” So Bill Clinton–for eight years one of the most powerful people on the planet–was “terrified” of the painter? Here’s Shanks on his relationship with another of his subjects, Princess Diana: “I was her protector, close friend and someone who was trustworthy when she couldn’t trust anybody.” Her protector! A knight in shining armor–and with a paint brush, too. As for his secret Clinton shadow, it’s pretty subtle. Is it really, as he claims, the shadow of a blue dress he had on a mannequin when Clinton wasn’t there? Would a dress even need to be blue for the shadow? It would be interesting if Shanks’ protest against Bill Clinton–who he calls the “most famous liar of all time”–turned out to be invented. But we’ll never know.