Picturing The Presidents
1 x 60'
American presidents may shape the course of history, but their portraits shape the way they are remembered. Skewered with the stroke of a pen, painstakingly coaxed from oil on canvas, or captured through the lens of a camera, every presidential portrait further defines a president’s legacy.
This film interweaves scholarly and public perspectives with little known, yet fascinating, episodes in presidential portraiture. From Gilbert Stuart’s awkward sittings with George Washington, to Elaine de Kooning’s passionate attempt to capture John F. Kennedy, every artist and president have a unique (if not always picture-perfect) relationship.
We meet world renowned artist Nelson Shanks, who spared no effort on his portrait of William Clinton – even going so far as to create a replica of the Oval Office in his studio. And we watch presidents emerge from the hand of Pulitzer-prize winning editorial cartoonist Pat Oliphant, who has caricatured 8 modern presidents during his long career.