Aaron Shikler was an accomplished portraitist who painted a portrait of Ronald Reagan for Time Magazine’s “Man of the Year” issue in 1980. During his initial study for the portrait, Reagan fell asleep, but Shikler used the opportunity to capture a relaxed and peaceful expression on his face. The final portrait radiated Reagan’s confidence and optimism, which reinforced his reputation as a strong leader.
Shikler’s portraits are highly regarded, and several of them are housed in the White House. His artistic style is characterized by a use of delicate brushstrokes that imbue his subjects with life-like features. He is best known for his portraits of President and Mrs. Kennedy, which hang in the National Portrait Gallery.
As one examines Shikler’s many portraits, including those he created for political figures such as Ronald Reagan over time, it becomes apparent that he had an extraordinary ability to capture not only their physical appearance but also their essence. He carefully observed every detail to produce works that remained true to the subject’s character while satisfying public expectations of what they should look like as iconic figures in American history.