Celebrity painter Nelson Shanks got serious media attention this week for his claim that he put the shadow of the Monica Lewinsky‘s blue dress into his portrait of Bill Clinton. The portrait hangs in the Smithsonian. During the interview in which Shanks revealed his alleged Clinton shenanigans, the painter also made other fantastical, grandiose claims. He believes, for example, he was once Princess Diana’s lone protector. (Um, good job there, Nelson.)
Shanks’ tales are easily questioned, but not easily disproved. He would hardly be the first artist to exaggerate his own importance, or to fudge a fact to add resonance to his work–like, say, making up that an indeterminate shadow was caused by a blue dress meant to represent Monica Lewinsky. Good news though for Shanks: when the media attention wanes, there is definitely a way for the painter to extend his time in the spotlight. Shanks can simply claim the dress wasn’t really blue, but yellow and white.