Casting a long shadow: Artist hid Lewinsky dress in Clinton picture

This April 24, 2006 file photo shows former US President Bill Clinton looking at his and his wife Hillary Clinton's portraits during an unveiling ceremony at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC. Mr Clinton's portrait, now in the National Portrait Galle
This April 24, 2006 file photo shows former US President Bill Clinton looking at his and his wife Hillary Clinton's portraits during an unveiling ceremony at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC. Mr Clinton's portrait, now in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC, holds a subtle reference to the Monica Lewinsky scandal. -- PHOTO: AFP 

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The artist who painted ex-president Bill Clinton for America's National Portrait Gallery included the shadow of a dress in the work, a reference to Clinton's relationship with Monica Lewinsky, the painter says.

Nelson Shanks told the Philadelphia Daily News: "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." A shadow beside Mr Clinton, who is pictured standing in front of a hearth, "actually literally represents a shadow from a blue dress that I had on a mannequin, that I had there while I was painting it, but not when he was there," added Shanks, 77.

"It is also a bit of a metaphor in that it represents a shadow on the office he held, or on him." Mr Clinton, who was president from 1993-2001, would become the first male counterpart to the US head of state and government if his wife Hillary Clinton seeks the US presidency and wins.

The former first lady and ex-secretary of state is widely expected to seek the Democratic Party's nomination.

Ms Lewinsky was an intern at the White House at the time of the scandal. Mr Clinton repeatedly denied an affair, but later admitted to a relationship with Ms Lewinsky that was "not appropriate" and "wrong."