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Defeated French general or noble Parliamentarian? Theresa May portrait divides opinion

Politicians love being immortalised on canvas and it seems the former UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, is no exception. A striking image of the rather austere politician pinged popped into our email box, dividing opinion with its El Greco-esque overtones. Painted by the Tehran-born artist Saied Dai, the £28,000 portrait of the MP for Maidenhead will eventually hang in Portcullis House, a key building on the Parliamentary Estate in London. “Kudos must go to the artist… who has seemingly done the impossible and imbued the former prime minister—whose greatest admirers couldn’t accuse her of having an inspirational leadership style—with an air that appears almost noble,” wrote Emma Brockes in The Guardian, who asked also if we can really forget the anti-immigrant “go home” vans and Brexit shenanigans overseen by May. The reaction on social media was decidedly mixed with one contributor on X/Twitter wondering if an AI programme had received the following instruction: “Create a painting of Theresa May as a defeated French general, returning home after the Battle of Waterloo.” Talking of former PMs, we just can’t wait to see Liz Truss’s leaving portrait.

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