Some artistic representations of heads of government, like the recently unveiled portrait of former US President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama, become modern icons of art.
The paintings were not just strikingly colorful but also served as political statements, with the choice of artist Kehinde Wiley as the first African-American artist to paint a presidential portrait.
Helmut Kohl also made a political choice when selecting East German painter Bernhard Heisig, one of the most important GDR state artists, as his portrait painter. It will be interesting to see which artist Angela Merkel will choose when the time comes.
Angela Merkel as Time’s ‘Person of the Year’
There are already a few high-profile paintings of the German chancellor, such as those done by American artists Colin Davidson and Elizabeth Peyton. The former was commissioned by Time magazine when Merkel was voted “Person of the Year” in 2015; the second was commissioned by the fashion and lifestyle magazine Vogue.
When it comes to photographs of the chancellor, Herlinde Koelb and Andreas Mühe have made artistically convincing contributions. In sculpture, too, there have been already interesting approaches inspired by Merkel.
Perhaps the most profitable, however, is the use of the chancellor as a subject of satire and comedy. In the UK, Tracey Ullman is laughed with for her portrayal of a sexy singing Angela Merkel. At home in Germany, Katharina Thalbach has already Merkel-ed her way through.
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