Jacqueline Kennedy, King of Hearts
Oil and acrylic on canvas, 70 x 56"
©1997 Tina Mion
In the 1940s, Harold Edgerton invented stroboscopic
photography, which allowed him to create “stop-action” images
such as a bullet piercing a card. In 1963, television made it possible
for an entire nation to witness the stop-action assassination of President
John F. Kennedy, and Jackie’s reaction. In a deck of cards, the
King of Hearts is the “suicide king” — so-called because
he is nearly always thrusting a sword through his head.
Some called JFK suicidal because he insisted on riding
in public without bulletproof protection. I painted two swords for the
theory that two bullets were fired from different directions. This painting
represents the instant President Kennedy was hit. Jackie doesn’t
know what has happened yet, but she knows it’s bad. The painting
is meant to capture the last moment of innocence for Jackie — and
for an entire generation.
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