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The Obamas’ Official Portraits Were Just Unveiled And People Are Pissed At How Michelle Looks

The official portraits of former POTUS Barack Obama and FLOTUS Michelle Obama were unveiled today at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. The works of art were much anticipated due to the former president’s choice of artist: Yale University-trained painter Kehinde Wiley, who is known for his portrayal of African-Americans as “famous figures in Western art,” and who takes influence from the Old Master paintings in which the subjects are typically depicted as formal, regal, and august.

Barack Obama is seen sitting in a backdrop of flowers; Chrysanthemums, which are the official flower of Chicago (where Obama began his political career), jasmine, to represent his childhood home of Hawaii, and African blue lilies symbolizing his Kenyan-born father, Barack Obama Sr.

“How about that? That’s pretty sharp,” said 44 during the unveiling. “I tried to negotiate less gray hair and Kehinde’s artistic integrity would not allow (him) to do what I asked. I tried to negotiate smaller ears. Struck out on that as well.”

Michelle Obama chose Baltimore-based artist Amy Sherald for her portrait. The African-American artist is known for using gray paint to represent black skin tones, serving as commentary on perception of skin and its symbolic nature in America. For the first time ever, a presidential portrait was done in a more abstract than realistic style.

“Amy, I want to thank you for so spectacularly capturing the grace and beauty and intelligence and charm and hotness of the woman I love,” President Obama said of the work.

Michelle Obama added: “I’m also thinking about all the young people, particularly girls and girls of color, who in years ahead will come to this place and they will look up, and they will see an image of someone who looks like them hanging on the wall.”

Naturally, the Obamas’ appearance, always enveloped in such grace and humility, brought all the nostalgic tears to the yard. Chrissy Teigen said it best:

Many on Twitter were pleased with the depictions, especially by how much they differed from previous presidential portraits:

People were quick to point out a few highly important correlations:

Some were…less than happy, however. Michelle Obama’s portrait in particular garnered much disdain for not properly resembling the former FLOTUS: