The former president of the United States, George Bush, has released a series of never-before-seen portraits of world leaders that he himself has painted.
The portraits are a part of a collection he’s been creating and went on display on Saturday at his presidential library in Dallas, and the exhibit is called “The Art Of Leadership: A President’s Personal Diplomacy.”
The former president said that through painting he has found not just a rewarding hobby, but a unique way to express himself and the impressions he had of the past 30 presidents, prime ministers, and other world leaders during his tenure at the White House.
“I think they’re going to be (like), ‘Wow, George Bush is a painter,”‘ Bush said in an interview on the Today show this past Friday.
“I’m sure when they heard I was painting, (they said), ‘Wow, I look forward to seeing a stick figure he painted of me.'”
For the two-term president the portrait he painted of his father, former president George H.W. Bush, is the one he’s most proud of and carries the most meaning.
“I painted a gentle soul,” he said.
According to the president of the Bush Presidential Center, Margaret Spellings, they’re using the exhibit to help broaden the image of Bush and to show “what it takes to be a personal diplomat.” She said that the paintings emphasize the one-on-one relationships that Bush had with other world leaders and how important they were to him, even though the leaders have not seen the president’s art yet.
The 43rd president has a similar statement on the website for the exhibit, and says “I place a high priority on personal diplomacy. Getting to know a fellow world leader’s personality, character, and concerns made it easier to find common ground and deal with contentious issues. That was a lesson I had picked up from Dad, who was one of the great practitioners of personal diplomacy.”
Below are some snapshots of the exhibit along with other paintings the former president has done.