A former neighbor of mine who was an art teacher at Herron School of Art and accomplished artist in his own right once showed me a number of his paintings and explained to me hidden meanings he had in each of them. As he explained to me, this is not an uncommon thing for artists to do. The artist who painted President Bill Clinton's official portrait is no exception.
Nelson Shanks revealed that a shadow cast on the fireplace was that of a mannequin adorned with a blue dress as a reminder of President Clinton's shameful extramarital affair with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Shanks told the Philadelphia Daily News that painting Clinton was his hardest assignment because "he is the most famous liar of all time." He added the nod to the Lewinky scandal to the painting because of the shadow it cast over his presidency.
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 told the Daily News the Clintons were aware of the shadow's meaning and hate the portrait for that reason. He said they demanded it be taken down from display at the National Portrait Gallery. The portrait was taken down about three years ago, although not because the Clintons requested it be taken down according to officials at the gallery. I wonder if Shanks' depiction of Clinton making a downward pointing V-sign with palm inward isn't a reference to being sexually violated by a horned pagan god