Presidential portraits are usually revealed after a president has left office, but the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery made an exception today when it unveiled a painting of Francis J. “Frank” Underwood, the fictional president played by Kevin Spacey on the Netflix series, “House of Cards.”
“Since Francis Underwood doesn’t believe in term limits, I see no reason why it shouldn’t be unveiled now,” Spacey said at a news conference.
The larger-than-life painting by British artist Jonathan Yeo shows an imperious Underwood seated in the Oval Office. He’s turned sideways at his desk, as if about to deliver one of his famously caustic asides.
“I think that when it’s hung at the right height, you may wonder if I’m about to kick you in the face — which seems appropriate for this particular character,” Spacey said.
The menacing nature of the portrait is leavened by hints of pixelization and the illusion that you’re seeing the image through fragments of glass.
“We were trying to mimic the formality of an official portrait, but at the same time leave some of the loose lateral brushstrokes to suggest a digital image flickering on a screen,” Yeo said.
The painting will go on display Wednesday near the museum’s G Street entrance, but it will probably never make an appearance on the show.
“Unless it’s borrowed from the gallery by the next [fictional] president,” Yeo said.
Season 4 of “House of Cards” will be released March 4 on Netflix.
More stories from Express