Art, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.
And as millions tuned in to behold President Trump’s wide-ranging interview with CBS News on Sunday, a brief glimpse of the artwork on a White House wall caught the eye of many.
President Trump – viewers spotted – has a painting of himself sitting round a table with past Republican presidents including Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon.
Independent Journal Review editor Josh Billinson was among those on Twitter to note the painting’s presence.
oh my god, it’s hanging in the white house pic.twitter.com/wrq8eo7Bvx
— Josh Billinson (@jbillinson) October 15, 2018
Called The Republican Club, the artwork was created by Andy Thomas. The artist, who lives in Missouri, United States, was “ecstatic” to discover his art displayed in the White House, he told Time.
Republican congressman Darrell Issa reportedly gave it to the President.
“A lot of times gifts aren’t really hung up, they’re just pushed into a closet somewhere,” Mr Thomas said.
“To find out it’s actually hanging is really a treat.”
Mr Thomas has painted a number of iconic figures and events from US history, including civil war battles and other paintings of past presidents spending time together. The artist has painted an equivalent version of the scene hanging in the White House featuring Democrat presidents.
Since I see the Republican painting in my timeline. Here is the Democrat and the Republican paintings together. Both were painted by the talented Andy Thomas
— Steve Ragan (@SteveD3) October 15, 2018
Would-be art critics were quick to offer their own views on social media. Some labelled the picture “tacky”, while others praised the talent of the artist. One social media user likened it to the comical character Alan Partridge.
The painting Trump has hanging in the White House is exactly the kind of painting Alan Partridge would have if he was president. pic.twitter.com/E4lkd8I1Np
— Nick Pettigrew (@Nick_Pettigrew) October 15, 2018
Inevitably, others used photo-editing software to make their own amendments to the scene.
— Barbarossa✨ (@barbarossa69) October 15, 2018
In January, President Trump asked to borrow Van Gogh’s Landscape With Snow from the Guggenheim museum in New York.
The museum declined, but offered to lend the President a gold toilet from their collection.
Who is round the table?
- Abraham Lincoln is among the most celebrated leaders in US history. After becoming the 16th president of the Unites States in 1861, he issued The Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 which freed slaves in areas still under Confederate control during the American Civil War. He was assassinated in 1865.
- Theodore ‘Teddy’ Roosevelt became the 26th president of the United States in September 1901 when President William McKinley was assassinated. He was re-elected in 1904. In 1906 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his role in ending the Russo-Japanese war.
- Dwight Eisenhower was the supreme Allied commander in Europe during the Second World War. He became the United States’ 34th president in 1953.
- Richard Nixon was Eisenhower’s vice-president. Elected to the presidency in 1968, he is the only one to resign from office, after the Watergate scandal.
- Gerald Ford was Nixon’s successor, and the only US president never to win a national election of any kind. He had become vice-president in 1973 when Spiro Agnew resigned amid corruption charges. After Nixon’s resignation the following year he became the country’s 38th president.
- Ronald Reagan was elected the 40th president of the United States in 1980. Reagan is viewed as a key figure in the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the Cold War.
- George HW Bush served two terms as Reagan’s vice-president before he was elected to be his successor in 1988. With Russia’s Mikhail Gorbachev the two leaders declared an end to the Cold War in 1989.
- George W Bush became the 43rd president in 2001. He oversaw the controversial ‘war on terror’ which followed the terrorist attacks of 11 September 2001.
- Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton to be elected the 45th president of the United States in 2016. The billionaire and former reality television star is a divisive figure who enjoys widespread support among Republicans but similar levels of opposition among Democrats.