Monday, May 27, 2024

Barack & Michelle Obama Attend Unveiling of Their Portraits at National Portrait Gallery (Watch)

[videowaywire video_id=”34FF9E9482F9963F”]

*Barack and Michelle Obama surfaced at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery Monday morning for the unveiling of their official portraits.

The former president’s portrait was painted by Kehinde Wiley, an artist best known for his vibrant, large-scale paintings of African-Americans posed in the style of Old Master paintings, regal, formal and filled with pops of color.

Mrs. Obama’s portrait was commissioned by Baltimore-based artist Amy Sherald, first-prize winner of the Portrait Gallery’s 2016 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition. Sherald’s portraits tend to underscore themes of social justice. She often paints black skin tones in gray as a way to take away the assigned “color” of her subjects. Sherald’s work is less about realism in composition and more about shape and color; like Wiley, the choice of Sherald ushers in a new era of presidential portrait.

“How about that? That’s pretty sharp,” the 44th president said upon his painting’s reveal as he took the podium. The portrait depicts him sitting against a backdrop of green foliage.

Michelle Obama said she “was a little overwhelmed, to say the least,” after her portrait was unveiled.

Wiley is the first African-American artist to execute an official presidential portrait for the National Portrait Gallery. He reportedly took thousands of photographs of Obama in order to create the portrait, a process different than the typical “sittings” required for most portraits.

“Amy, I want to thank you for so spectacularly capturing the grace and beauty and intelligence and charm and hotness of the woman I love,” President Obama said.

The Obamas looked at the portfolios of more than two dozen artists before deciding on Wiley and Sherald. Obama’s portrait will hang in the hall of presidents and the former first lady’s will be placed in another gallery. Both will be open to public viewing on Tuesday.

Watch the entire unveiling ceremony above.

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