With a few notable exceptions, presidential portraits have looked more or less the same throughout U.S. history. And then came the Obamas on canvas: the first black president and the first black first lady, captured beautifully, powerfully by black artists. And not just any black artists, but two artists whose work has been intentional, overtly political, and racially conscious. Michelle Obama chose artist Amy Sherald, known for her grayscale portraits of black subjects.
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Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images
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Presley Ann Strutting in Turquoise
Mireya Acierto/Getty Images Prince of Prints
Neilson Barnard/Getty Images Purple Piping
Patrick McMullan/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images Peacocking With Those Lapels
Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images Pink!!
Michael Loccisano Pulling It Off
Johnny Nunez/WireImage Better Than Pinstripes
Rodrigo Varela/Getty Images for Grey Goose Leopard in Blue
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Grey Goose Perfect Pastels
Andrew Toth/Getty Images Literally Fly
Johnny Nunez Bold and Beautiful