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Smithsonian Unveils Official Portraits Of Barack And Michelle Obama

The Obamas are looking stunning these days-- and not just in person, but in art. On Monday, the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. unveiled the paintings of the former President and First Lady. The couple seemed pleased with the work of the artists.

Michelle Obama was painted by Amy Sherald, an artist based in Baltimore. Sherald won the Portrait Gallery's 2016 Outwin Boochever Portrait competition.

Mrs. Obama seemed quite impressed with the likeness, which featured her looking stunning in a black and white dress. Her chin rests gracefully on one hand, with the other draped over her knee.

"As you may have guessed, I don't think there's anybody in my family who's had a portrait done, let alone a portrait that will hang in the National Gallery," Michelle said after the unveiling.

"I am a little overwhelmed, to say the least... I am humbled. I am honored. I'm proud, but most of all, I am so incredibly grateful to all of the people who came before me in this journey — the folks who built the foundation on which I stand."

Barack Obama praised Sherald for capturing his wife's 'hotness'.

He then joked that his own artist had a disadvantage because he had a 'less becoming subject. "Not as fly," Obama said.

Kehinde Wiley, a renowned artist known for his large-than-life portraits of African Americans in vivid color, painted the image of Mr. Obama.

Obama's portrait was then unveiled, and he seemed pleased with the results. The former Commander-in-Chief is featured seated on a wooden chair surrounded by foliage.

"How about that? That is pretty sharp," said Obama.

Mr. Wiley was emotional at the unveiling. "The ability to be the first African-American painter to paint the first African-American president of the United States was absolutely overwhelming," he said. "It doesn't get any better than that."

Some people on Twitter mocked the artist and the former POTUS for the floral background, comparing it to images of Homer Simpson hiding in bushes, others smacked down the critics quickly.

"Can we talk about how stunningly powerful it is to see a black man in a garden the way Kehinde Wiley painted Barack Obama?!" said writer Brittany Packnett. "It dismantles so much and creates new visions of masculinity that black men rarely have the public permission to explore."

"These portraits will live to serve those millions of future visitors looking for a mentor, some inspiration and a sense of community," said Kim Sajet, Director of the National Portrait Gallery.

The museum has a complete collection of presidential portraits. It began collecting the painting some 25 years ago, and being chosen to paint one is quite an honor.

Mrs. Obama had nothing but praise for the artists. "I'm thinking of all the girls of color who will come and see someone who looks like them hanging on the wall of this great American Institution," she said. "And I know the kind of impact that will have on their lives... because I was one of those girls."

Some famous faces were spotted at the unveiling, including Mr. Obama's former Vice President and BFF, Joe Biden. Filmmaker Steven Spielberg and actor Tom Hanks were also spotted at the event.

Source: The Washington Examiner, BBC
Photo: YouTube

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