Friday, December 19, 2008

From George W to George W

It's been about 20 years since I've stepped foot in the National Portrait gallery but it has always remained by favorite museum. Their collection of presidential portraits has always fascinated me. Today, another was added to the collection as George W. Bush's portrait, painted by a Yale classmate, was unveiled along with a portrait of First Lady Laura Bush. Quipped the president: "That means this exhibit now has an interesting symmetry. It starts with George W. — and ends with George W."

Though the painting represents a strong likeness of the president, I am bothered that it was not a formal pose like that of the other 41 presidents, with the president lacking a coat and tie. I find this somewhat ironic in that the Bush White House is rather formal and President Bush is rarely seen in the West Wing without a coat and tie (unlike his immediate predecessor). According to the AP, "Bush wanted painter Robert Anderson, a Yale classmate of the president's, to give him a more informal look for his likeness at the National Portrait Gallery. Anderson painted the portrait to engage viewers with the president in a 'personal and conversational manner,' according to an event program." He got his wish.

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