The official portrait of George W. Bush, the United States' 43rd president, was unveiled at the White House on Thursday, May 31, 2012.
In some ways, it was an awkward gathering. As the AP reported, "Obama is still bad-mouthing Bush's time in office, and it's not just because of the debt and the unfinished wars Obama inherited. Obama sees Bush's economic ideas as the same as his current rival, Mitt Romney, so he lumps them together." But both the Obama and Bush camps said today was about putting politics aside and focusing on tradition.
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The tradition of the presidential portrait goes back to the nation's first president, George Washington. In modern times, a photograph is used until the president leaves office. It's then replaced by an oil painting.
The last portrait unveiling ceremony took place in June 2004, when President Bush introduced Bill Clinton's portrait.
In his portrait, Bush is portrayed standing in the center of the Oval Office in the West Wing. The White House provided more details of all that is pictured in the portrait, painted by John Howard Sanden:
His right hand rests on an armchair made for the White House in 1818 by District of Columbia cabinetmaker William King, Jr. A corner of the “Resolute desk,” presented to the White House by Queen Victoria in 1880, can be seen behind the chair. Over his right shoulder hangs a 1929 western painting, A Charge to Keep, by William H. D. Koerner. The President, who had used the same title for his 1999 memoir, often called attention to that painting and its significance.
A portrait was also unveiled for former First Lady Laura Bush.
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