Back in Blue

The blue dress is back. Although almost two decades have passed since sexual misconduct allegations and the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton, the dress has come up again in an unexpected way, making a subtle appearance in a 2005 oil canvas painting of Clinton.

Painted by Nelson Shanks, who has also done portraits of Pope John Paul II, Princess Diana, and Ronald Reagan, it uses the shadow of Monica Lewinsky’s blue dress as a metaphor. It “represents a shadow on the office he held, or on him” Shanks tells the “Philadelphia Daily News.” Shanks set up a mannequin wearing a blue dress while Clinton was not in the room, which casts its shadow on the mantel behind the President.

According to Shanks, “Clinton was hard. I’ll tell you why. The reality is he’s probably the most famous liar of all time. He and his administration did some very good things, of course, but I could never get this Monica thing completely out of my mind and it is subtly incorporated in the painting.” Lewinsky’s allegations of sexual misconduct with Clinton surfaced in 1998, and the blue dress was used for DNA evidence supporting his impeachment case.

Shanks has alleged that the Clintons are trying to have the portrait removed from the National Portrait Gallery, where it currently resides. According to, however, the claim is unconfirmed.


Jamie Bogue, Editor-in-Chief

Senior Jamie Bogue is the Editor-in-Chief for the 2014-2015 Colonel. She is a drum major for marching band, sings in Ledyard Carolers, and is attending Liberty University next fall.

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