The official portraits of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama were unveiled Monday at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C.
President Obama’s portrait was painted by Kehinde Wiley, a Yale-trained artist known for his depictions of African-American subjects. The painting shows the former president sitting pensive in a brown chair amid shrubbery and flowers.
The First Lady was done in a more muted style by the artist Amy Sherald and depicted her sitting, with a Mona Lisa-like expression, gazing out beyond the canvas.
Both were the first African-American artists to paint official portraits of a first couple.
Online, the Twitter commentariat were unsparing, with critics blasting the images as bizarre and unrepresentative of the Obamas.
— Shoshana Weissmann, Sloth Committee Chair (@senatorshoshana) February 12, 2018
Congrats to Regina King on her portrait being placed in the National Portrait Gallery! pic.twitter.com/1DENQ8WKQS
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) February 12, 2018
— Jon Levine (@LevineJonathan) February 12, 2018
WATCH: You can actually see Barack Obama do a "yikes, that's awful" double take looking at Michelle Obama's portrait, then look back at his cool one. pic.twitter.com/2nF3ffmIUF
— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) February 12, 2018
— Noga Tarnopolsky (@NTarnopolsky) February 12, 2018
Between Two Ferns? https://t.co/jVTb5m0tyt
— Tiana Lowe (@TianaTheFirst) February 12, 2018
This is a beautiful portrait. It looks very little like Michelle Obama pic.twitter.com/1CsRrWIJtN
— Chris Cillizza (@CillizzaCNN) February 12, 2018
Obama's new portrait looks awfully familiar… pic.twitter.com/S5wenGJTPq
— Colleen Wordock (@cwordock) February 12, 2018
wait no sean wat are you doing pic.twitter.com/bLABp3wq4E
— delrayser (@delrayser) February 12, 2018