How a Teen's Fan Art Came to Be Displayed at US Capitol

Painting, inspired by 'Hannibal,' won a contest
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 24, 2021 3:14 AM CDT
How a Teen's Fan Art Came to Be Displayed at US Capitol
In this Sept. 21, 2019, file photo, a photographer lines up her shot at the National Mall reflecting pool as the sun begins to rise behind the Washington Monument and the U.S. Capitol building in Washington.   (AP Photo/J. David Ake, File)

A 17-year-old spent four weeks on a "casual art-class project" inspired by the TV show Hannibal, canceled by NBC in 2015—and now the fan art, titled Dolce after an episode of the show, will be going on display at the US Capitol. Kathleen Palmer's Cubist rendering of Hannibal Lecter (the human-eating psychiatrist-turned-serial killer also featured in The Silence of the Lambs) and Will Graham (the FBI agent who works alongside Lecter to catch serial killers before ultimately realizing Lecter himself is one) won the Congressional Art Competition for New Jersey’s Third Congressional District, winning it a spot in the tunnel between the House of Representatives and a congressional office building, the New York Times reports. It's not clear when it will go up.

While Hannibal was only on the air for three seasons, it's developed a bit of a cult following, and "shippers," or fans who like to imagine fictional characters in a romantic relationship even if no such relationship exists in the show, often liked to envision Hannibal and Will as a couple. Palmer tells the Times that Hannibal implies that romantic feelings do exist between the two main characters. Rep. Andy Kim, who selected the winning work of art for his district, had no idea the painting had anything to do with a television series. As for that series' creator, Bryan Fuller, Entertainment Weekly reports that after learning about the connection between the artwork and the show, Kim tweeted Fuller asking, "If I invite you to the Capitol to see the artwork, does that mean there will be a season 4?" and Fuller replied, "I hope so!" (Read more strange stuff stories.)

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