Obama portraits unveiled with mixed reactions at Smithsonian Museum

The National Portrait Gallery unveiled portraits of former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama, painted by artists Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald.

Even though Barack Obama praised Baltimore-based artist Amy Sherald “for so spectacularly capturing the grace and beauty and intelligence and charm and hotness of the woman I love,” many critics on social media slammed the rendition of the former first lady.

“Michelle Obama is an elegant lady and the portrait looks nice. But clearly, the artist drew someone else,” Dr. Eugene Gu, a health care columnist for The Hill, tweeted.

For the portrait, the former first lady was painted in “grayscale” – a charcoal color with taupe undertones. She’s seated, with her hair falling around her shoulders, in a bold floor-length dress.

While most agreed the image was striking, Twitter went to war over whether it looked anything like Michelle Obama. The verdict varied widely, from positive responses to confused reactions to concern that the portrait did not live up to the subject.

The former President’s portrait features a seven-foot portrait sitting in a field of flowers, including chrysanthemums, the official flower of Chicago; jasmine, a nod to Obama’s childhood in Hawaii; and African blue lilies to symbolize Obama’s late father who was from Kenya.

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