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Obama official portraits unveiled at Smithsonian

Obama official portraits unveiled at Smithsonian

In October, President Obama selected out artist Kehinde Wiley, a NY artist known for his bold, regal depictions of African-American luminaries, to paint him for the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery.

Former First Lady Michelle Obama's official portrait during the unveiling ceremony at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery in Washington DC on February 12, 2018.

The 44th president said he asked Wiley, who is known for painting African Americans posed in the style of Old Master paintings, to avoid god-like or regal flourishes.

"I'm a little overwhelmed, humbled and proud", said Mrs Obama, who praised the portrait as "amazing".

Though the former president was also impressed that Sherald captured his wife's "hotness".

Speaking at the event, Mr Obama said that working with artist Kehinde Wiley was "a great joy", but jokingly added the artist refused some of his requests.

Sherald explained feeling captivated by Mrs. Obama's grace, which translated into her work.




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When visitors travel to Washington, D.C. and go to the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery, they will be greeted by two familiar faces. "I know the kind of impact that will have on their lives, because I was one of those girls".

"I was anticipating - hoping for - a bolder, more incisive image of the strong-voiced person I imagine this former first lady to be", Cotter said in his review.

Others, though, were critical, particularly of the Michelle Obama's portrait.

Victor of the 2016 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition, Amy Sheral is a Baltimore-based artist who describes the former First Lady as someone that "women can relate to-no matter what shape, size, race, or colour..." Wiley's painting, depicting Obama in a casual sitting position in front of a bed of colorful flowers and shrubs pays a touching homage to the former President's history and background.

The Obamas' official portraits were unveiled at the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery on Monday, a rite of passage for former presidents, all of whom have their portraits hanging in the museum.


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