Art imitates life

as portrait of President Underwood is unveiled at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery

A major new portrait of Kevin Spacey, in his role as House of Card’s President Francis Underwood, was unveiled at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC. The portrait is a joint project between Jonathan Yeo and the museum, which houses the only complete collection of Presidential portraits outside of the White House. It has recieved wide public and critcial acclaim for its blurring of reality and fiction. 

“This collaboration with Kevin Spacey, Jonathan Yeo and the museum has resulted in a work that depicts the actor in a compelling role" stated Kim Sajet, Director of the National Portrait Gallery "We were captivated by Jonathan’s bold idea to depict Kevin Spacey as Frank Underwood, which also reflects the changing way in which people consume media."

“I am incredibly honored to be selected as a subject for the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, a fine institution..." said Kevin Spacey, "Jonathan and I have developed a great rapport through our collaboration over the past few years and from the beginning we both saw the opportunity to create something interesting, insightful and resonant which reflected the Museum’s heritage.

Jonathan Yeo observed: “As a portrait painter, depicting a brilliant actor doing their job presents a particular challenge as you are trying to capture both their portrayal and some of their actual character on the canvas.  Kevin Spacey and I have been collaborating for several years around the idea of life and art crossing over. What an actor does when they inhabit a role in many ways parallels what happens when you make a piece of artwork based on a living subject... It’s a huge honor for me to see this portrait of Kevin playing Frank Underwood unveiled at one of the most important institutions in the world. “

The painting will be on display to the public at the Smithsonian National Portriat Gallery through to October. 

The Guardian

Washington Post


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