Two artists make history by being the first African-American artist to paint presidential portraits.
Barack and Michelle Obama were back in the Public light Monday in Washington, the former first couple’s official portraits were unveiled at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery.
The artist chosen by the former president was Kehinde Wiley, who is famous for his depictions of African-Americans posed in classical positions but filled with pops of color. Wiley was trained at Yale University the alma mater of the former president.
“How about that? That’s pretty sharp,” Former President Obama reacted to the portrait of himself depicted sitting against a backdrop of green foliage.
Michelle Obama said she “was a little overwhelmed, to say the least,” after her portrait was unveiled. Her portrait was painted by Baltimore-based artist Amy Sherald.
Former U.S. President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama stand next to their newly unveiled portraits during a ceremony at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, on February 12, 2018 in Washington, DC. The portraits were commissioned by the Gallery, for Kehinde Wiley to create President Obama’s portrait, and Amy Sherald that of Michelle Obama. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)