Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama’s official portraits were revealed at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. on Monday. The artist behind the former president’s portrait was Kehinde Wiley, who is known for “portraying African-American men wearing contemporary clothes and posing in the heroic stance of Old Masters artworks.” The artist behind the first lady’s portrait is Amy Sherald, a Baltimore painter who typically paints life-size portraits of black Americans—but she paints them with gray skin as a way to “subversively comment about race without feeling as though I’m excluding the viewer.” Both artists were selected by the Obamas after they sifted through two-dozen portfolios. The portraits will hang in separate galleries, but both will be housed at the National Portrait Gallery for the near future.
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