Great portrait, or the greatest portrait?

Portrait of Stephen Colbert

This weekend I went to the National Portrait Gallery to see the famous portrait of the only man more patriotic than George Washington playing baseball while duct-taped to Abraham Lincoln: Stephen Colbert. Or, more specifically, the portrait of him standing in front of a portrait of himself standing in front of a portrait of himself, hung above his totally-real fireplace during the second year of The Colbert Report.

As fans of the Report know, after being rejected by the National Museum of American History (like anyone really cares about a pair of red shoes), Colbert’s hackey sack skills persuaded the director of the gallery to display the portrait in no less a place than the restrooms just outside the Hall of Presidents:

I can assure you, the portrait is every bit as magestic in person as it was on the Report, with the added benefit of ready access to indoor plumbing. The portrait itself is ridiculously popular — apparently the NPG’s attendance has doubled since it went on display — and is in a comically bad location, with the walls of the lavatorial nook blocking any lateral visibility of the portrait. But that’s not stopping thongs of Heroes and It-Getters from flocking to see it and, naturally, have their picture taken while standing in front of it. Or at least, trying to do so before someone who’s entering xor leaving the restrooms unwittingly walks into the shot.

If you want to get in on the magesty yourself, keep in mind you have until April 1. No joke.

Fun fact: the portrait of Benjamin Harrison on display in the Hall of Presidents is on loan to the Smithsonian from Purdue University’s Harrison Hall.

4 Responses

  1. Well I learn something new everyday. Not necessarily always about Stephen Colbert, but sometimes.

  2. I prefer:

    (rest of site nsfw, not appropriate for young children)

  3. Hopefully that one works…

  4. That WAS a fun fact.

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