Bush at Abu Ghraib

Painter: Peter Saul

Year: 2006

Saul's acid-hued painting features a grinning President George W. Bush, who embraces a misshapen, bullet-ridden Iraqi soldier with one arm, while probing the distorted soldier's mouth with another. Bush's gesture could be influenced by a number of art historical sources. One wonders which gesture Saul references: The trader in Gerome's The Slave Market exploring the mouth of a potential human purchase? Or is Caravaggio's Doubting Thomas poking his hands into Christ's wounds. Ultimately, only Saul knows…

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