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Amazing as it may be, hacked photos of George W. Bush’s paintings aren’t awful

George W. Bush

Ron Edmonds/AP

In his retirement the former president known as Dubya has gone all Winston Churchill and taken up painting as a hobby.

Bush (a.k.a. "43" and "George W.") has reportedly been concentrating on scenes of buildings, the arid Texas landscape and portraits of dogs, including, it seems, ones of his much-beloved but recently deceased Scottish Terrier, "the fierce armadillo hunter," Barney.

But these haven't been his only subjects. While Dubya has yet to officially present his oeuvre to the public, images of some of his art have surfaced on the Web, hacked apparently from e-mails to his sister. One making the rounds is a self-portrait of sorts, a scene of Bush taking a shower, his back to the viewer but much of his face reflected in a fog-free mirror below the shower head. Yes, he's naked but not that naked. Amazing as it may be to some, the painting is not awful; indeed, it's quite smartly composed, the rendering of his body, the shower tiles and spray reminiscent, in fact, of a David Hockney California canvas.

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Dunno if Dubya would appreciate being described as an acolyte of the world's most famous gay painter – his administration's positions on LGBT rights were very mixed, after all – but that's the way our eyes see it. The artistic imagination, of course, knows no limits.

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James More

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