Zinke, in official and unofficial portraits, returns to Interior on horseback

Zinke, in official and unofficial portraits, returns to Interior on horseback
© Department of Interior

Former Interior Secretary Ryan ZinkeRyan Keith ZinkeOvernight Energy: Interior finalizes plan to open 80 percent of Alaska petroleum reserve to drilling | Justice Department lawyers acknowledge presidential transition in court filing | Trump admin pushes for permits for men who inspired Bundy standoff Trump administration pushes for grazing permits for men who inspired Bundy standoff Interior secretary tests positive for COVID-19 after two days of meetings with officials: report MORE will now be immortalized on the horse he rode in on.

In his official portrait unveiling, Zinke, who famously came to his first day at the agency on horseback, is seen sitting atop a black and white horse, trotting through brush with a tree-lined butte in the background.

The portrait is based on a photo taken of Zinke when he visited Bears Ears National Monument in 2017, a monument in Utah that was later shrunk by the Trump administration.


Painted by Montana-based artist Brent Cotton, the portrait includes the insignia of Seal Team Six on Zinke's shoulder and the emblem of U.S. Park Police on the horse's martingale. The likeness was funded through private donations.

The official portrait was joined by an unofficial portrait that also shows Zinke again on horseback, this time holding a sickle while his horse rears up in response to a fanged snake in the foreground.

The unofficial portrait is based on the painting "Death Dealer 6" by fantasy artist Frank Frazetta, which sold for $1.79 million in 2018 and features a mythic warrior wearing a tri-horned helmet. 

The former Montana congressman had a controversial tenure at the department, ultimately resigning in 2018 amid numerous ethics investigations into his conduct.