A photo taken at Friday’s G7 Summit, which vividly captured the atmosphere of the high-level meeting like a renaissance art, is drawing a keen attention. The observers of this historic image are naturally drawn to the center of it, German Chancellor Angela Merkel. As the only female in the picture, Merkel is surrounded by dark-suited male leaders, hogging the attention of viewers with her bright blue blouse like the little princess in Las Meninas, the famous painting by Diego Velazquez.
With her hands on the table, Chancellor Merkel is staring at President Donald Trump like a teacher admonishing a troublemaker. The sliver of profiles that belong to British Prime Minister Theresa May and French President Emmanuel Macron in the left of Merkel cuts through the composition diagonally from top left to down right, past the crouching German chancellor, all the way down to the U.S. president sitting in the right corner. The sense of weight brought to life by the diagonal cut seems to symbolize the pressure that European leaders are mounting on President Trump.
With his arms crossed, Trump is staring them back vacantly, like a stubborn student determined to ignore the admonition from his teachers. From behind the center, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is watching the Western leaders in apparent frustration. Next to Abe, John Bolton, Mr. Trump’s national security advisor, is standing beside his boss as if to assist the besieged American president, wearing his typical dazed look on the face, effacing the usual stubbornness.
There is an on-going frenzy in social media to give a glib title to this picture. Will “The Divide of G7” do the justice to the image? “We are a piggy bank that everyone is robbing, and that ends,” President Trump said when heading towards Singapore for the U.S.-North Korea Summit even before the G7 meeting was officially over. Afterwards, the rest of the world leaders announced a joint statement to fight protectionism and tariff barriers, which was closer to a formality than an actual step in any direction. Aboard Air Force One bound for Singapore, President Trump denounced Justin Trudeau, the prime minister of the host country Canada, claiming that he never agreed to such a statement, and Trudeau fought back, arguing that President Trump had indeed agreed.