See Bucks portrait artist’s paintings of a pope, princess, more

Shanks’ portraits range from the aristocratic to the sensuous. Pope John Paul II towers nearly life-size in St. Peter’s Basilica, bathed in multiple sources of light streaming from Michelangelo’s cupola and Bernini’s Holy Spirit window. Like most of Shanks’ subjects, he radiates a healthy, ruddy glow as he offers his benediction. Should the pontiff glance over his shoulder, however, that glow might become a blush, for on the panel behind him is actress Marisa Tomei, stunningly nude, teasing the viewer with full-frontal splendor.

“What really resonates is when you get all the physical work of an artist into the gallery and start seeing connections and creating an environment that flows,” says museum director and CEO Lisa Tremper Hanover, who curated the exhibit. “It’s a thrilling opportunity. Nelson was very hands-off when it came to the physical installation, and I think that was a good thing.

“Letting go of control lets the curator

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