A Portait of the President on Casual Friday

The National Portrait Gallery just unveiled the official portrait of President George W. Bush, which should look familiar to Izzy’s most faithful readers.

official-george-w-bush-portrait

Izzy is almost certain that that light-blue shirt, with its two unusual pocket flaps, is the same one Bush wore when engaging in diplomacy with Vladimir Putin. As Izzy pointed out at the time, that quasi-militaristic style has also been favored by fellow Texan Charlie Wilson. Clearly, Bush’s choice of shirt and pose—bent over, sitting on a couch while smiling—was intended to give an air of casualness and familiarity. Unfortunately, given how the shirt’s cuffs ride up due to bent arms, Izzy mainly sees poor tailoring. (The pleats adjacent to the cuffs are a further sign that the shirt was not custom-made.)

Artistically, Izzy thinks that the official portrait pales next to one by the same painter, Robert Alexander Anderson, which was created for the Yale Club of New York City.

george-w-bush-portrait-for-the-yale-club

Here, Bush actually looks somewhat presidential, though it’s amusing that he crosses his leg in the European style that some American yahoos consider effete. (Also, what’s with Barney’s demon eyes?) It’s a shame that even this portrait contains a sartorial blunder: loafers with a suit. W simply can’t escape informality, which, admittedly, is a very American peccadillo. It even looks like his right French cuff is undone.

And is it Izzy, or does that sofa bring to mind a Rorschach test?

2 Responses to “A Portait of the President on Casual Friday”

  1. Nevicata December 22, 2008 at 2:27 am #

    What odd portraits. The casual one looks like a photo run through a Photoshop filter. The more formal one’s perspective and proportions are almost high-school-esque, and why is there that weird shadow over his face?