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Smithsonian Unveils Portrait of ‘House of Card’s’ ‘President Francis Underwood’

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery features a gallery of portraits of the presidents, and on Monday, they got another.

That was “House of Cards” president Francis Underwood, the fictitious commander-in-chief played by Kevin Spacey. As Netflix prepares to air the fourth season of its signature political series on March 4, Spacey was on hand for the unveiling of a portrait of Underwood, along with British artist Jonathan Yeo and Portrait Gallery director Kim Sajet.

“We were captivated by Jonathan’s bold idea to depict Kevin Spacey as Frank Underwood, which also reflects the changing way in which people consume media,” Sajet said in a statement. “Now ‘binge watching’ television has put control into the hands of consumers, who can watch their favorite shows at their leisure.”

Yeo has captured Spacey in a character portrait before, as Shakespeare’s Richard III, in a retrospective at the National Portrait Gallery in London.

“Kevin Spacey and I have been collaborating for several years around the idea of life and art crossing over,” Sajet said in a statement. “What an actor does when they inhabit a role in many ways parallels what happens when you make a piece of artwork based on a living subject. The fact that his ‘House of Cards’ character is a fictional one but based on a real-life role, not to mention that this is all happening in the institution and city where the genuine events normally take place, is intended to highlight this interplay.”

The portrait will be on display through October.

Guests at the event were also given a preview of the first episode of the coming season.

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