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John Nelson Shanks (Dec. 23, 1937 – Aug. 28, 2015); American artist and painter. His best known work is probably his portrait of Diana, Princess of Wales, completed in 1996.
Shanks had been on the faculty of the Memphis Academy of Arts, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Art Students League of New York, the National Academy of Design and Studio Incamminati and was a resident of Andalusia, Pennsylvania. He was an honorary member of the American Society of Classical Realism Guild of Artists.
Shanks was a painter, teacher and art historian influential in the revival of classical realism in the United States. His portraits of royalty, politicians and celebrities added to his international profile as one of the foremost contemporary figurative painters. Shanks' philosophies and skills were shared through his teaching at various public and private institutions. In 2002, he founded Studio Incamminati in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; an academy dedicated to the study, practice and spread of realist art using the philosophy and techniques espoused by Shanks.
...Known for his skill in capturing the complex nature of his subjects, Shanks' portraits have contributed to his reputation as one of the foremost contemporary figurative painters. Among his notable commissions are Diana, Princess of Wales, Pope John Paul II for the Vatican Museum, Margaret Thatcher, US Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton for the National Portrait Gallery....
Shanks was a realist, attempting to capture the essence of his subjects through acute observation and technical skill.... a work was meant to evoke emotion and challenge the viewer to make close examination.
In 2015, Shanks said he had hidden a secret reference to the blue dress worn by Monica Lewinsky into the official portrait of President Bill Clinton hanging in the National Portrait Gallery by way of a shadow. [https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nelson_Shanks]