Smithsonian Reveals The Obamas Official Portraits And They Are Interesting [VIDEO]

Smithsonian Reveals The Obamas Official Portraits And They Are Interesting [VIDEO]

Smithsonian Reveals The Obamas Official Portraits And They Are Interesting [VIDEO]

Today, the official portraits of Barack Obama and Michelle Obama were unveiled at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery. The portraits themselves are…interesting.

The National Portrait Gallery has unveiled the official portraits of former president Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, both painted by African American artists, and both striking additions to the museum’s “America’s Presidents” exhibition.

Well, I’ll say this. They are certainly “striking.” A portrait is supposed to display the likeness, mood, or personality of the person. So, keep that in mind as I present you with the Obama portraits.

Here’s another look at each one individually.

Michelle Obama
President Barack Obama

The reaction has been all over the map since the portraits were unveiled.

CNN’s Chris Cillizza landed himself in hot water with this tweet.

But the thing is, he’s right. It doesn’t really look like Michelle. Sure, she approved the portrait and likely that’s how she views herself. But it doesn’t look like her, nor does the portrait have any personality. I mean, at least Hillary looked pleased with herself in hers.

And Laura Bush’s portrait conveys exactly who she is, warm and gracious.

By contrast, Michelle’s portrait, in this writer’s opinion, seems to have little to no personality whatsoever. However, the dress has meaning!

The dress forms a pyramid, with the face atop, in a way that suggests a protective carapace, hiding from view the first lady’s body and some of her femininity, which were targets of racist attack during her tenure in the East Wing.

Oh, so that’s why the portrait doesn’t resemble Michelle?

Oh, ok. That makes sense. Wait, no. No, it doesn’t. Isn’t the purpose of a portrait supposed to convey the person’s personality? Isn’t it supposed to convey their MOOD? I guess not, according to Kate. Then again, given how much gray is in the picture, maybe Michelle’s mood stays in the grumpy range 24/7? I dunno.

Meanwhile, what is President Obama’s portrait supposed to convey? What’s with the flowers and all that shrubbery? And why do I now have Monty Python and the Search for the Holy Grail running through my head?

I couldn’t resist. Seems the flowers are there for a reason. Chrysanthemums to represent Chicago, jasmine for Hawaii, and African blue lilies for Obama’s Kenyan heritage. Furthermore, the bulging vein and the hard stare means the former (I love typing that) president “doesn’t suffer fools gladly.'” Well, alrighty then!

The artist, Kehinde Wiley provides his own explanation for the flowers.

Wut? The only thing I see is that the shrubbery is about to take over, kind of like kudzu does.

The former President really likes his portrait and chose Wiley for a specific reason.

“What I was always struck by when I saw his portraits was the degree to which they challenged our ideas of power and privilege,” Obama said.

I’m honestly not sure how that portrait challenges anyone’s idea of power and privilege. If anyone else knows, please help a girl out, will you?

For those who dislike the portraits, this little lecture is cute.

Who are the artists? I present you with some of Kehinde Wiley’s “work.”

Isn’t that special??!! I guess Wiley really like shrubs, flowers, and decapitation “art.” As for Amy Sherald, she said this to some young girls at a gallery talk recently”

“I painted this for you so that when you go to a museum you will see someone who looks like you on the wall.”

Explains a great deal about the artists and the Obamas, doesn’t it?

But one thing that is consistent is the media’s love for all things Obama.

And then Philip Kennicott, the Washington Post’s Art Critic, chimed in. In summary, he says that these portraits will remind everyone of how gracefully the Obama’s bore the burden of systemic racism while in office. Especially since the White House was an exclusive white man’s preserve until 2008. Yes, Kennicott really wrote that while trying to explain how seriously cool the two portraits are.

Whether people like or don’t like the portraits, one thing is clear: Barack and Michelle chose trendy, edgy artists to paint their portraits. And that’s exactly what they got.

UPDATE: Astute commentators have noticed something very odd about Obama’s hand:

Not only do we have a “Fundamental Transformation” of official portraits as Adam Baldwin points out, we have the artist adding extra body parts. For what reason would Wiley do that? Noah Pollack has an idea:

And…mic drop.

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  • Johnny says:

    I dislike Michelle Obama but even so, I thinks she’s much better looking than that ugly-a$$ portrait.

    I can’t say I admire Mr. Obama either, but I feel sorry for him as well.
    Someone needs to explain to this artist about perspective – making the hands too big makes the head look too small.
    And the setting/pose? Frankly it looks like he should have an outhouse around him.

    Somebody needs to be asking for a refund.

  • GWB says:

    Then again, given how much gray is in the picture, maybe Michelle’s mood stays in the grumpy range 24/7?
    Also, that RBF.

    Chrysanthemums to represent Chicago, jasmine for Hawaii, and African blue lilies for Obama’s Kenyan heritage.
    What? No Cannabis indica?
    Weren’t they told to “stay out da bushes”?

    What is up with the really large hands? Is there a Freudian thing going on here?
    (And, look closely at the left hand in his portrait. Did he originally have 6 fingers? Is he Count Rugen in hiding?)

  • SFC D says:

    I’m not a fan of either one of the Obamas. But I have to say, the former POTUS and FLOTUS deserve a better representation than that. Maybe the artist is saying that the greenery is there to replace the oxygen stolen Barry.

  • Wfjag says:

    Why is he sitting in Poison Ivy?

  • L. Greg says:

    Mr. Obama provides an excellent example of manspreading.

  • Choey says:

    I’ve seen better Paint by the Numbers portraits.

  • Mark says:

    These folks understand DC Comics better than they understand Rembrandt.
    It’s good news, really. Future generations will take them for a joke. They won’t realize that they were the Joke from Hell, but it’s better than having them revered.

  • H.A. Reynolds says:

    This is what happens when you select your portrait artists based on their race and politics.
    At least future generations with get an instant, visceral understanding of the amateurishness of the Obama Kleptocracy.

  • Ruth says:

    Am I the only one who thinks Obama’s hair is … Caucasian, westernized? No, Michelle’s portrait does not look like her. This is what happens when you spend other people’s money. A good photographic should be entertained in the future.

  • GAlan says:

    My first thought on the Barack portrait is that some cropping is in order. What’s with all the headroom?

  • David says:

    Are those coca leaves and white 5-petal flowers behind Obama?

  • Rob says:

    With regard to President Obama, I love the idea that racism held him back. Without racism he could have been what? King of the galaxy? Emperor of the universe?

  • Rob says:

    On further consideration, after reading the Washington Post article and comments I believe we have a full blown “The Emperor’s New Clothes” situation here. It is necessary to love the pictures to demonstrate love for the subjects. The picture of the President is silly and strange (we will be told endlessly that it is original and bold) and the picture of Mrs. Obama is a terrible likeness not well executed. They are good-looking people and should have good-looking portraits. The art critic is rationalizing.

  • Romey says:

    What a lovely pair of images! Let the Dems/Progs spend the rest of their days trying to figure the message these portraits are trying to convey. It cannot be stressed enough how much I don’t care and NEVER will see them!

  • Larry says:

    Does the fact that in neither portrait, the Obamas have no thumbs mean the artist sucks at thumbs, or that they were never able to “grasp” things?

  • Steve says:

    Wait a minute!!! This is supposed to be the “official” portrait of a former prez!??!!??!? Who was the goof that ok’d this…..this……this tripe?!!?!?
    I have always heard (from real artists) that if you have to explain the “art”; then the artist failed.
    I was going to be cranky and irritable about this “art” until I read the fellas comments, that this portrait will help generations to come, to realize the idiocy of obumblers presidency.


  • Timmy says:

    Mrs. O’s is just bad. Her pic has more forehead than she does.

  • tokyov says:

    I can’t believe that those misogynists were so embarrassed by Michelle’s appearance that they wouldn’t let her sit for her own portrait. Outrageous!

  • huxley says:

    Wiley’s website now reports a server error when accessed. I looked at it last night. One’s first view is an enormous shot of Wiley in an impeccable suit and coiffed hair sneering down at the viewer.

    Either the server is overwhelmed or the powers that be realized what a PR disaster it was for normal Americans to see Wiley’s arrogance and his paintings of black women holding the decapitated heads of white women by the hair.

    Maybe Wiley was the right artist to do Obama’s portrait after all.

  • harleycowboy says:

    Good grief. Is that tent she’s wearing? MY what huge masculine hands you have! Were you sick that day? You look rather pale or did the artist try to portray you as “leaning white”?

  • Scott says:

    Not to get off topic, but since you posted that pic of Hitlery, she looks like someone that wants to make a coat out of your dalmatian puppies… just sayin..

  • Jeffersonian says:

    President sitzsprinkler. And I’m pretty sure that’s not Michelle Obama.

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