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Macron goes large for his official photo

21 July 2017

Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories.

Emmanuel Macron shot to the French presidency this year promising a break with the past – which extends to a change in the format of the official presidential portrait, it turns out. A photograph of the head of state has traditionally been issued to adorn the walls of town halls across the land, and has conformed to the standard dimensions of 50 x 65cm ever since Charles De Gaulle took the helm of the 5th Republic in 1959.

Too big Mac

But Macron’s portrait has broken with tradition, measuring 5cm taller than previous presidential mugshots. Local officials – who have been ordered to make significant savings over the next five years – are in a huff over the new format, with some complaining that it will require them to buy new frames in order to display the image. Romain Senoble, the mayor of Forges, has estimated that replacing the frames will cost the 36,000 communes of France a collective €2.7m – but did suggest a solution, proposing to ‘get out the scissors and remove the excess centimetres’.

The portrait, shot by Macron’s campaign photographer Soazig de La Moissonnière, depicts the youthful president leaning against his desk in the Elysée against a backdrop of the Tricolore and the EU flag. Some were quick to ridicule the photograph, point out that the digital metadata for the hi-res version betrayed the fact it had been subject to extensive retouching.

Twitter, meanwhile, had great fun playing around with the president’s pose:

Macron’s team insist that the alterations to the photo are down to a change in ‘artistic direction’, and have questioned Senoble’s cost estimates. Indeed, at €77 per frame, Rakewell wonders where the mayor of Forges gets his holiday snaps mounted…

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