Gov. Pat McCrory’s official portrait was installed in the governor’s mansion this week, joining portraits of a number of former governors in the mansion’s entrance hall.
The painting shows a smiling McCrory standing outside overlooking the dome of the state Capitol building in Raleigh.
North Carolina has a tradition of governors commissioning portraits as they prepare to leave office. McCrory’s predecessor, Democrat Bev Perdue, had her portrait painted by Charlotte artist John Seibels Walker.
McCrory’s last day as governor will be Saturday; his successor, Democrat Roy Cooper, is scheduled to be sworn in shortly after midnight on New Year’s Day.
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McCrory selected Nashville artist Michael Shane Neal to paint the portrait after reviewing sample work from several artists provided by Susan Kluttz, McCrory’s secretary of natural and cultural resources. Kluttz oversaw the portrait project.
Neal had previously painted portraits of former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, U.S. Sen. Robert Byrd and actor Morgan Freeman.
The painting was paid for with private donations, according to Cary Cox, a spokeswoman for the Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. McCrory held an unveiling ceremony with Neal earlier this month, but did not announce the event or details about the portrait to media. Photos were later posted on the governor’s office Flickr page.
Some on social media were critical of the painting, saying that McCrory’s hands appear to be disproportionately large. Others said the portrait makes McCrory resemble former vice president Al Gore.
And while McCrory’s portrait will be a permanent fixture in the governor’s mansion, his photo will likely be taken down in other state buildings next week after Cooper takes charge – including the Administration Building, where McCrory was criticized in August for replacing North Carolina movie posters with photos of himself.