Dr Hannibal Lecter appearing in the U.S. Capitol doesn’t sound like something that would end well, but that is, in a way, exactly what is happening as an artwork featuring the cannibal doctor is about to be displayed after being announced as one of the winners of this year’s Congressional Art Competition.
Created by Kathleen Palmer, a high school student from New Jersey, the piece entitled “Dolce”, in reference to an episode from the highly acclaimed series based on the Thomas Harris novels, was judged one of the winners of the contest which is hosted by the U.S. House of Representatives each year. Representatives who participate in the event put forward the work of high school students from within their district and a panel of artists select their favorite pieces to be displayed in the U.S. Capitol building for a year until they are replaced by the following winners.
Palmer’s Cubist style artwork features Dr. Lecter along with the series protagonist, Will Graham, who first appeared in the novel Red Dragon, which was also the first to feature the doctor himself. The surreal art depicts Graham with a pair of stag antlers growing from his head, while Lecter has a raven on his shoulder, both pieces of imagery used in the series in some of its more bizarre visual moments.
Shawnee High School, where Palmer studies, was quick to take to Twitter and announce the win for their pupil. “Kathleen Palmer, Senior, submitted her Cubism painting to the Congressional Art Competition,” the post said “She based her Cubism style painting off a television show she’s currently watching. Kathleen WON – Her painting will be on display at the U.S. Capitol – AMAZING!”.
The news was spread further by Andy Kim, the house representative who solicited Palmer’s work to be judged for the award, who tweeted the image himself, saying, “I’m proud today to announce that Kathleen Palmer, a senior from Shawnee High School in Medford, is the winner of the Congressional Art Competition from our district. Her artwork, which you can see below, will now be displayed in the U.S. Capitol.”
As you would expect, fans of the series were quick to comment on the tweets. One user said “I’m proud to be from New Jersey today”, while another said, “This is just delicious.”
Soon after Hannibal showrunner Bryan Fuller added his own nod to the young artist, retweeting pictures of Palmer and her work and adding the hashtags #FANNIBALFAMILYFOREVER and #FANARTISART.
Hannibal ran for three seasons on NBC between 2013 and 2015, and starred Mads Mikkelsen as the titular doctor with a liking for human flesh. The series borrowed storylines and characters from all of Harris’ Lecter novels, including The Silence of The Lambs, Hannibal and Hannibal Rising, as well as Red Dragon. While the show cut out the iconic Clarice Starling in favor of keeping Graham as the cop on Lecter’s trail, most of the big set pieces of the novels were intact and expanded across the series. When the show was cancelled after the first episodes of the third season failed to reach the heights of its predecessors. The series ended with the deaths of both Graham and Lecter after a final showdown, leaving fans with little hope of any kind of continuation in future.
Despite its relatively short run, and the dwindling viewership that led to its cancellation, Hannibal received critical acclaim throughout its run, and the third season picked the Saturn Award for Best Action Thriller Television Series, as well as a Supporting Actor win for guest star Richard Armitage. It has also been named one of the best series in its genre, and also one of the best television series of all time by audiences and critics. For this reason, a further tweet from Fuller in which he said “I hope so” in reply to Andy Kim’s question of whether a trip to the Capitol to see the artwork would lead to a new series has re-ignited a hope among die-hard fans that we may not have seen the last of the not-so-good doctor.
However, it should be remembered that both lead characters died at the end of the third season, so it is pretty hard to see exactly where Fuller could take a show called Hannibal, without Hannibal. In the meantime, CBS’ Silence of The Lambs spin-off series Clarice is currently coming to the end of its first season, which only gained a 36% approval rate on Rotten Tomatoes, proving that some just isn’t right if the doctor is out.