A New Trump Painting Called 'The Masterpiece' Was Released, Then The Memes Came

After years of painting former President Barack Obama as a Constitution burning threat to the United States loathed by the Founding Fathers, literally fiddling as Washington D.C. burns, artist Jon McNaughton finally found a subject he deems worthy of fawning portraiture in President Donald Trump. The Utah painter has previously depicted Trump hugging the American flag, teaching a wayward socialist "justice warrior" to fish, running touchdowns and even painted the president in George Washington's place, crossing "the Swamp" (instead of the Delaware River) with a lantern held aloft.

McNaughton's latest, "The Masterpiece," seats Trump in the artist's place, as the president raises the curtain on a painting of his own. But the new work's enigmatic message—it's unclear what exactly Trump has painted—has lead to a flood of memes mocking McNaughton's latest portrait.

My new painting - "The Masterpiece"
How will history remember this presidency?
I believe it will be considered a "Masterpiece."
More info at: https://t.co/FTjoBry52v pic.twitter.com/zeQ3rNmpZt

— Jon McNaughton (@McNaughtonArt) August 20, 2019

A new McNaughton painting is often a cause for celebration on social media. Commonly depicting Trump with a beatific smile, engaged in prayer, or sometimes as a great athlete, McNaughton's paintings can look like missives from an alternate dimension to people familiar with the president's swaggering stump speech fabrications and love of fast food and gossip. Typically promoted more by critics than fans, McNaughton's portraits dramatize the glaring contradiction between Trump's behavior and how he's perceived by his biggest supporters.

Donald and Melania Trump look at a portrait of late Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens in July. Trump has been the subject of numerous portraits of his own, including "The Masterpiece," by Jon McNaughton. NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images

"The Masterpiece" is especially well-suited for meme modification, because the subject of the painting—itself a painting—can be easily changed to something other than the vague medley of blues and greens McNaughton provided.

It could, for example, be replaced by fan art depicting a bizarre tryst between Garfield and Jon Arbuckle. Or perhaps it's Trump's unreleased tax returns hiding under the red velvet drop cloth:


— S W A L L O W🍸 (@ryanswallow) August 20, 2019

Nazi imagery was particularly common, as were modified versions portraying Trump's connections with deceased alleged child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, including references to Epstein's bizarre portrait of former president Bill Clinton wearing Monica Lewinsky'sstained blue dress:

Fixed it. pic.twitter.com/MkVtfIF97C

— ℝ𝕪𝕤𝕒 𝕎𝕒𝕝𝕜𝕖𝕣 (@RysaWalker) August 20, 2019

ftfy pic.twitter.com/YAUx50rK0B

— Peter Hassett (@peterhassett) August 20, 2019


— Unaccountable BureauCat (@UnAcctBureaucat) August 20, 2019

McNaughton provided his own interpretation of the painting in a YouTube video. "What does the future hold for America?" McNaughton asks in the video, before describing how Democrats, Republicans, the media and an alleged Deep State have worked to undermine Trump. "But the painting is not finished. I believe that Trump will yet reveal in the future a greater degree of prosperity, justice and American influence than has ever been seen before. His greatest achievements are yet to be revealed. How will history remember the presidency of Donald Trump? I believe it will be considered his masterpiece."

Editor's Picks

Newsweek cover
  • Newsweek magazine delivered to your door
  • Unlimited access to Newsweek.com
  • Ad free Newsweek.com experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts
Newsweek cover
  • Unlimited access to Newsweek.com
  • Ad free Newsweek.com experience
  • iOS and Android app access
  • All newsletters + podcasts