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Virginia unveils Northam’s official gubernatorial portrait

northam portrait
Gov. Ralph Northam shakes hands with artist Stanley Rayfield. Photo courtesy Office of Gov. Ralph Northam.

The Commonwealth on Tuesday unveiled the official gubernatorial portrait of Gov. Ralph Northam, which was painted by Stanley Rayfield, a Virginia native who graduated from the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Arts.

Northam sat for the portrait on March 30, 2021. The portrait depicts Northam in his study in the Executive Mansion standing beside a Virginia flag and in front of a painting of the Eastern Shore, where he grew up. On the bookshelf behind the governor is a bronze sculpture of children, which represents his 30-year career as a pediatric neurologist and his work—alongside First Lady Pamela Northam—to ensure 28,000 more Virginia children 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 bookshelf behind the governor, which the artist purposely painted at the level of the governor’s heart. On the bottom shelf are several books that represent Northam’s work and accomplishments over his term. They read: “COVID-19 Pandemic Response,” “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 acknowledge his administration’s historic progress on social justice: “Virginia Repeals Death Penalty,” and “The Country’s Biggest Remaining Confederate Statue Comes Down in Virginia.”

northam portrait
Photo courtesy Office of Gov. Ralph Northam.

Rayfield graduated from the Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts, then furthered his study by undergoing intensive training in classical realism through 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 Fine Art paintings and drawings for collectors and museums. He has honed his portraiture skills throughout the years and has been fortunate to have his award-winning fine art portraits acquired by The United States Pentagon, museums, universities, collectors, as well as featured in prominent art publications.

Collectors of Stanley’s artwork include Academy Award-winning director Spike Lee.

Stanley has displayed his artwork at several solo shows with Glave Kocen Gallery in Richmond, regional and national competitions, and group exhibitions. He has painted U.S. Armed Forces service members, local county dignitaries, uUniversity dignitaries, theologians, CEOs, pets, and a host of other subjects.

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

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

For more information about artist Stanley Rayfield, see here.

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