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No bristling as Brian finally gets painted in a good light

THE last time Brian Cowen saw a portrait of himself, his office made a complaint to gardai and forced the state broadcaster into issuing a grovelling apology.

This time, a teenage artist has painted the Taoiseach in a more flattering light.

Mr Cowen is not clutching his underpants or sitting on a toilet but he is pictured looking deep in thought.

And the Taoiseach happily posed for photographs holding the portrait after it was gifted to him.

Amy El-Fehli (19) painted Mr Cowen at her art teacher's insistence when she was studying for her Leaving Cert in Heywood College, near Abbeyleix, Co Laois. She admitted she was more used to painting "fairies" and "pretty things".

Amy, who is working in Portlaoise to help to pay her college fees in fine art next year, is "not really a politics person" but was glad Mr Cowen liked her painting.

She thought the controversial naked portraits of the Taoiseach that hit headlines in March 2009 were "very funny".

Artist and Dublin secondary school teacher Conor Casby (35) hung one, entitled 'Biffo on the Bog', in the National Gallery while a second one of Mr Cowen holding his underpants appeared in the Royal Hibernian Academy.

Amy said: "I thought they were a laugh but then I sometimes laugh at inappropriate things."

Mr Cowen was presented with the portrait on his visit to Abbeyleix last week.

Irish Independent