Former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama unveiled their portraits for the National Portrait Gallery today. Each one picked “acclaimed African-American artists to portray them.” From NBC News:
“Pretty sharp!” Barack Obama quipped of his portrait, painted by Kehinde Wiley — an artist best known for his vibrant, large-scale paintings of African-Americans. The former president also joked about how he had to negotiate to reduce the number of grays hairs and make his ears look smaller in the painting.
Obama also thanked Baltimore-based artist Amy Sherald, who painted Michelle Obama, for capturing the “grace, and beauty, and intelligence, and charm and hotness” of his wife.
Sherald and Wiley are the first African-American artists to create Smithsonian-commissioned portraits of a former president and first lady. And their subjects make history once more, as the first black presidential spouses to be immortalized in the gallery.
“The ability to be first African-American painter to paint the first African-American president…it doesn’t get any better than that,” Wiley said during his remarks.
The portraits have received some reactions on social media:
Outfielders are going to have trouble with the new obstacle at Wrigley Field this season. pic.twitter.com/EEjRu8HOsb
— Dan McQuade (@dhm) February 12, 2018
I knew Obama’s portrait looked familiar pic.twitter.com/13JeXEKgxv
— Katie Leach (@KatieMLeach) February 12, 2018
Michelle Obama’s portrait was unveiled at the National Portrait Gallery…
Aaaaand it looks nothing like her. pic.twitter.com/EQitllF47w
— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) February 12, 2018
Obama’s portrait is especially weird because as a purported White Sox fan, it’s unclear how he ended up in the Wrigley ivy. pic.twitter.com/ScEMvYHKSg
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) February 12, 2018
I’m stoked that President Obama’s official portrait looks like the cover of his spoken word album pic.twitter.com/Lj6FmGFlbM
— Robert Wheel LLC (@BobbyBigWheel) February 12, 2018
Loving this Obama portrait pic.twitter.com/zaGmqYAchQ
— Eric Schmidt (@TalkingSchmidt) February 12, 2018
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