Virginia unveils official portrait of Governor of Northam

portrait of north
Governor Ralph Northam shakes hands with artist Stanley Rayfield. Photo courtesy of the Office of Governor Ralph Northam.

The Commonwealth on Tuesday unveiled the official portrait of Governor Ralph Northam, painted by Stanley Rayfield, a native of Virginia and a graduate of the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Arts.

Northam sat down for the portrait on March 30, 2021. The portrait features Northam in his office in the Executive Mansion, standing next to a Virginia flag and in front of a painting of the East Coast, where he grew up. On the shelf behind the Governor is a bronze sculpture of children, which represents her 30-year career as a pediatric neurologist and her work, alongside First Lady Pamela Northam, to ensure that another 28,000 children from Virginie have access to early childhood education.

The inscription on the sculpture features one of Northam’s favorite sayings: “There is power in every child.” “

A picture of First Lady Pamela Northam also sits on the shelf behind the Governor, which the artist purposely painted at the Governor’s heart level. On the bottom shelf are several books that represent Northam’s work and accomplishments during his tenure. They read: “Response to the COVID-19 pandemic”, “Child neurology” and “Best state for business 2019-2021”.

The foreground of the painting features newspaper articles that highlight two of the governor’s proudest moments and recognize his administration’s historic advances in social justice: “Virginia Repeals the Death Penalty” and “The Greatest remaining Confederate statue of the country descends in Virginia ”.

portrait of north
Photo courtesy of the Office of Governor Ralph Northam.

Rayfield graduated from the Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts, then went on to further his education with intensive training in Classical Realism at the Grand Central Atelier in Long Island, New York. Stanley cites his Christian faith and the work of artists Henry O. Tanner and John Singer Sargent as some of his sources of inspiration.

Stanley’s portraits possess a photo-realistic likeness and skillfully capture the soul and spirit of the subject. Currently, Stanley enjoys producing paintings and art drawings for collectors and museums. He has honed his portrait painting skills over the years and has been fortunate enough to have his award-winning fine art portraits acquired by the Pentagon from the United States, museums, universities, collectors, as well as in publications by prominent art.

Stanley’s art collectors include Oscar-winning director Spike Lee.

Stanley has exhibited his work in several solo exhibitions with the Glave Kocen Gallery in Richmond, regional and national competitions, and group exhibitions. He has painted members of the United States Armed Forces, local county dignitaries, college dignitaries, theologians, CEOs, pets, and a host of other subjects.

His work is currently on display at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

The portrait of the governor joins other portraits of the governor on the third floor of the Virginia State Capitol. Northam’s portrait will hang to the right of the doors of the Governor’s Capitol office; to the left of the door is a portrait of former Governor J. Lindsay Almond, a leader of the massive resistance effort against inclusive education.

For more information on artist Stanley Rayfield, see here.

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