It was a case of noblesse oblige. The Queen of England presented Donald Trump with souvenirs from her vast art collection of paintings, prints, photographs, and sculpture and, as is her custom for visiting heads of state, she selects an item fitting the person. Trump got a photo of the royals playing golf. The Royal Collection boasts work by the luminaries of the art world, from Da Vinci and Titian to Caravaggio and Rembrandt. But a print of a painting in the art the Queen's holdings by Dutch master Pieter Breugel the Elder also would have been a fitting, although obvious, slap in his face.

Making the connection

I'm thinking of “Massacre of the Innocents” owing to the fact it's an evocation of the children in custody on the U.S. southern border who have died under Trump's watch. Breugel based his painting on the New Testament story of King Herod ordering his soldiers to slay all children in Bethlehem under 2-years old. Granted Trump didn't order his border guards to slay children, but he does order them into unsuitable facilities. And the latest report from the Washington Post indicates that now he has put a stop to English classes, legal aid and even soccer for all unaccompanied migrant children. Even the worst criminals in our prisons get recreation time.

Missing the big picture

Breugel saw a connection between the Biblical story and the revolt in his country against Spanish rule. Escaping tyranny is as old as the Bible, but It's doubtful that Trump would see any connection between his action against children and that of Herod. Besides, he's not an art lover, and the Queen must have known that. After all, he said as much in his Book “The Art of the Deal,” when he avowed, “Other people paint beautifully on canvas or write wonderful poetry. I like making deals, preferably big deals."

The bigger the better

“Big” anything.

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Donald Trump

Trump thinks big even if something isn't. For instance, he pitches Trump Tower as 68 stories when, according to Manhattan records, it's 10 stories shorter. Not a man of quiet taste, if something isn't oversized or at least very shiny, he ignores it or destroyed it, as in the case of the gray-stone Art Deco sculpture that fronted the Bonwit Teller building before it became Trump Tower. Not glitzy enough.

The art of telling untruths

And if not a shiny object in his possession, he overstates its cost.

Reporter Mark Bowden, writing for Vanity Fair in 2015, told of being aboard Trump's Boeing 727 and how he pointed out a “Renoir” on the wall that cost him $10 million, even though it's a known reproduction of La Loge in the Courtauld Institute of Art in London. And the $10 million figure Trump quoted was how much Sotheby's sold it for in 2008 ($9.67 to be exact). Trump thinks the art world “phony and elitist,” according to the New York Post. In that case, he fits right in.

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