HotAIR - The George / John Controversy

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This report is a joint project of the Annals of Improbable Research and the Museum of Bad Art

The George / John Controversy

Who is the man on the pot? Apparently, it's John Ashcroft.

The art world's most fevered controversy may be solved. The mysterious semi-nude subject of the painting called "Sunday on the Pot With George" has been tentatively identified. Art historians now believe that the painting depicts none other than John Ashcroft, the attorney general of the United States. Here, side-by-side, are images of (a) the painting and (b) John Ashcroft:

"Sunday on the Pot With George," the Museum of Bad Art painting that has art historians in a frenzy. Until September 1, 2004, the identity of the model was purely a mystery.

John Ashcroft, the Attorney General of the United States. Art historians now speculate that Ashcroft is the model depicted in the painting.

The painting is on display in the Museum of Bad Art, in Dedham, Massachusetts.The work is done in acrylic on canvas. It depicts a middle-aged man of serenely phlegmatic demeanor, wearing briefs, seated on what appears to be a toilet. Art historians have researched and debated long and hard, trying to identify the man. They appear, at long last, to have succeeded.

The discovery of the model's likely identity was made by a joint team composed of art historians from the Museum of Bad Art and and forensic scientists from the Annals of Improbable Research.

Technical Details

The model is a spitting image of John Ashcroft, masculinely adipose with simple classic form in gut and limb.The facial resemblance is exact. The pose is a familiar one both to admirers of the Attorney General and to anyone who has ever seen the painting.

It is seen as significant that the model is depicted in semi-nude, classical Roman pot-sitting pose and attire. Attorney General Ashcroft is known to be a keen judge of classical art. President George W. Bush, in nominating Ashcroft to the post of Attorney general, called him "a man of great integrity, a man of great judgment."

Enduring Questions

Several small mysteries remain. The identity of the artist, his or her relationship with the model, and the circumstances under which the piece was painted, are not yet known. Spokespersons from the Museum of Bad Art and the Annals of Improbable Research insist that "it is not proper to speculate."


This is an Improbable Research exclusive feature. For a complete list of the others, see What's New.


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