Sitting on an elaborate wooden chair that seems to float on the canvas, his image also draws attention for the contrasts between his serious and thoughtful look, and his black suit, with a white shirt casual style and devoid of tie.
"I look pretty sharp", Barack said after seeing himself in art form. To commission a painting of Mrs. Obama by artist Kehinde Wiley, who has painted pictures of black women holding the severed heads of white women is outrageous and reveals the double standard of decency acceptable to liberals and the mainstream media. "As you may have guessed, I don't think there is anybody in my family who has ever had a portrait done, let alone a portrait that will be hanging in the National Gallery", she told the press, celebrities, and politicians present.
And with that distinction as a starting point, Wiley says the collaboration with Obama kicked off with an examination of portraiture itself. Barack Obama image, painted by artist Kehinde Wiley, shows him seated in front of an ivy backdrop, while Michelle Obama was painted by Amy Sherald in a pale blue setting. The dress forms a pyramid, with the face atop, in a way that suggests a protective carapace, hiding from view the first lady's body and some of her femininity, which were targets of racist attack during her tenure in the East Wing.
The article included an excerpt from a 2008 New York Times profile, which claimed of Wiley: "His portraits initially depicted African-American men against rich textile or wallpaper backgrounds whose patterns he has likened to abstractions of sperm".
The Portrait Gallery's tradition of commissioning presidential portraits began with President George H.W. Bush. What else do we know of her work?
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The bespoke gown was based on a piece from Milly's Spring/Summer 2017 collection, and Sherald was drawn in by the geometric shapes that adorn its billowing fabric. "These artists were commissioned... because of how they work and a particular viewpoint". There's a lot to see if you let yourself look.
While he didn't grow up with his father, Wiley traveled to meet him in Nigeria when he was 20 years old. He mentioned his adrenaline rush, explained the symbolic system of flowers in the portrait's verdure, and sat down.
Close-up of Obama's vein in his official portrait. And today we're seeing more and more evidence that the social gains of the civil rights, and Black Power, and Obama eras are, with a vengeance, being rolled back.
However, beyond the appreciative tweets and crude critiques, it would appear that Mrs. Obama's portrait isn't just a work of art, but a political message reflecting where the US now stands, one year after the former president's departure and the beginning of President Donald Trump's brazen reign.