Did They Get It Right? Paintings unveiled of President Obama and the First Lady

Kehinde Wiley painted the portrait of the president. Amy Sherald painted the portrait of the first lady.

Our former president and first lady, Barack and Michelle Obama, will have their likeness in the National Portrait Gallery at the Smithsonian. At first glance, I didn’t like either painting. After a bit of time though, President Obama’s painting is growing on me. I don’t see myself falling in love with it, but it’s a beautiful piece.

I’m afraid I’m still struggling with the painting of our first lady though. Don’t get me wrong, I also think it’s beautiful work. I can appreciate the artist’s talent. The busy background was what first made me recoil upon viewing the president’s painting, so I really appreciate the simplicity of Michelle’s. I also enjoy the black and white juxtaposed with color. The problem is that when I see her face, I don’t immediately see the first lady. That facial expression is entirely too serious not to be a dead ringer for a woman I always see smiling.

Ultimately, the only requirement I have is to recognize the person in the painting. Without Mrs. Obama standing next to the painting, would you see Michelle? I’m not so sure yet. Maybe I need more time.
But that’s me yall. What say you?

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