Barack Obama unveils painted presidential portrait

Former President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle wave to the crowd as they board an Air Force jet to depart Andrews Air Force base in Andrews Air Force Base Md

"How about that, that's pretty sharp", the former president remarked once his portrait was unveiled, while the First Lady said she was "a little overwhelmed, to say the least".

The former president praised Ms Sherald for capturing the "charm and hotness of the woman that I love".

Art critics have also celebrated Obama's artist choice as it introduces contemporary work and diversity to the famed gallery. In the meantime, everyone on Twitter has an opinion about the paintings.

Michelle Obama said she was left "humbled and proud" by the portraits, which her husband described as "extraordinary".

Obama's portrait was done by the acclaimed painter Kehinde Wiley, while Michelle's essence was captured by 44-year-old artist Amy Sherald.

The gallery, which is part of the Smithsonian group of museums, has a complete collection of presidential portraits, and started commissioning those of presidents from George HW Bush onwards. Barack Obama image, painted by artist Kehinde Wiley, shows him seated in front of an ivy backdrop, while Michelle Obama was painted by Amy Sherald in a pale blue setting.

The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery unveiled Barack and Michelle Obama's official portraits on Monday morning, with the former first couple present with their chosen artists. "Thanks to Kehinde and Amy, generations of Americans - and young people from all around the world - will visit the National Portrait Gallery and see this country through a new lens".

When visitors travel to Washington, D.C. and go to the Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery, they will be greeted by two familiar faces. During his remarks at the unveiling, President Obama explained why he chose Wiley to paint his portrait. "Nobody in my family as far as I can tell has had a portrait done", Obama said.

Wiley is the first African-American artist to produce an official presidential portrait. The president's portrait, which will be added to the "America's Presidents" gallery, which now features 1,600 different likenesses of America's presidents. The portraits will be available for public viewing starting Tuesday.



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