Colbert Portrait Reportedly Turns Fountain Water into Wine

After perusing the gallery of stately, dry Presidential portraits at the National Portrait Gallery (NPG), a visitor might be in need of a drink. So of course, one meanders towards the nearest water fountain. Lo and behold, a former Presidential hopeful stares commandingly down from above the fountain, surrounded by Emmy awards and mirrored reflections of himself. A portrait of Stephen Colbert is on display at the NPG in commemoration of his time as host of “The Colbert Report” on Comedy Central.
Portrait Reportedly turns (Fountain) Water into (Fountain) Wine.
Portrait Reportedly turns (Fountain) Water into (Fountain) Wine.

This is the second iteration of an earlier portrait of Stephen Colbert that was installed temporarily at the NPG in 2008 as the result of an elaborate joke(featured above) between the grandiosely self-important character played by Colbert and the director of the NPG. The earlier version featured three images of Colbert in the framed canvas print; the current one features nine that reflect behind him ad infinitum. It hangs in the same place in the museum as its predecessor: on the wall between the men’s and women’s restrooms on the second floor. Whether that is an appropriate location for the portrait is not for your correspondent to judge, but it is certainly a memorable one.

As the portrait is on loan from “The Colbert Report” and not part of the museum’s permanent collection, it is well worth a visit while on display in Washington DC in such a storied space.

On view at the National Portrait Gallery until April 19, free admission.

By Emma Bilski

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