I like the Obama portraits

Official portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama

But I think there will be considerable acclaim for this work, too, because Sherald managed to stay true to her own stylistic inclinations while producing a serviceable formal image. "I dressed Mrs.Obama on several occasions while she was in office, and am so grateful to create something that she will forever be remembered in by future generations", Smith says through a spokesperson to Yahoo Lifestyle.

It's also been revealed that the backdrop on the 44th president's portrait - by artist Kehinde Wiley - is filled with symbolism of his upbringing. The two portraits sat on a stage in front of a large blue curtain, wearing black veils that led one viewer to imagine what David Hammons might have done with the commission.

Then the NPG's director, Kim Sajet, and Smithsonian Secretary David Skorton appeared from behind the curtain, followed by artists Sherald and Wiley, and then Michelle and Barack Obama.

Sherald, who won the National Portrait Gallery's Outwin Boochever prize in 2016, has painted Michelle Obama's face in the gray tones of an old black-and-white photograph, set against a preternaturally bright background, a technique she has used to introduce a heightened sense of the surreal in many of her works. Not so for former President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama on Monday.

The new art injects color into the visual timeline of presidents and first lady's and adds to the shift in diversity at the National Portrait Gallery.

Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama by Amy Sherald / Oil on linen, 2018 / National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution. What else do we know of her work? "'I've got enough political problems without you making me look like Napoleon, '" he said with a laugh.

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At the time, the designer told Yahoo Lifestyle that Trump's election was a "severe wakeup call to do something", which inspired her to hand out "Steinem AF" T-shirts at her February 2017 runway show, referencing feminist and political activist Gloria Steinem.

"He and I make different sartorial decisions", he continued, a joking reference to Wiley's bold choices (he wore a black-and-white patterned suit to the ceremony). You take people from everyday life and elevate them to a level of dignity and celebration.

"From the greenery sprout flowers that have symbolic meaning for the sitter".

Close-up of Obama's vein in his official portrait.

Much of the criticism focused on that Michelle's looks little or nothing like her and does not represent the image of inner strength projected by the former lady, although the artist faithfully captured her turned arms.

Another portrait of President Obama will eventually be unveiled at the White House, though likely not for a few years. So, we'll just move right along.

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