Former President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama helped unveil their official portraits at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C., on Monday.
While President Obama’s portrait left viewers gasping in awe at his likeness, Michelle’s portrait by artist Amy Sherald was met with confusion and criticism.
“Michelle Obama is an elegant lady and the portrait looks nice. But clearly, the artist drew someone else,” a Twitter user wrote following the reveal.
Another agreed, adding, “Michelle Obama’s portrait was unveiled at the National Portrait Gallery… Aaaaand it looks nothing like her.”
One viewer claimed President Obama's portrait lacked "depth," while Michelle's painting was "paint by numbers bad." Another slammed it as looking "like a sketch by a sixth grader."
Michelle Obama is an elegant lady and the portrait looks nice. But clearly, the artist drew someone else. pic.twitter.com/659jRDHY33— Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) February 12, 2018
Michelle Obama's portrait was unveiled at the National Portrait Gallery...— Tim Young (@TimRunsHisMouth) February 12, 2018
Aaaaand it looks nothing like her. pic.twitter.com/EQitllF47w
It's not that @BarackObama's portrait is bad, it's that there's no depth, that he's floating in a wall of leaves. @MichelleObama's portrait is bad. Like, paint by numbers bad. pic.twitter.com/qBCusNhx0B— Derek Hunter (@derekahunter) February 12, 2018
Okay legit that Michelle Obama portrait looks like a sketch by a sixth grader.— Ashley Rae (@Communism_Kills) February 12, 2018
Conservative analyst Ben Shapiro jumped in on the criticism, sharing an abstract painting in place of Michelle's portrait. "LOVE the new portrait of Michelle Obama," he wrote.
LOVE the new portrait of Michelle Obama pic.twitter.com/c4OXHhFOw6— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) February 12, 2018
President Obama seemed to dispute critical viewers' claims and praised Sherald for capturing, among other things, his wife's "hotness."
"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," he said with a chuckle.
Barack Obama praises Michelle Obama's portrait artist "for so spectacularly capturing the grace and beauty and intelligence and charm and hotness of the woman I love." https://t.co/31IsuBQpNp pic.twitter.com/7tkznasSaA— ABC News (@ABC) February 12, 2018
To combat critical perceptions of Michelle's portrait, CNN White House reporter Kate Bennett offered some details on Sherald's artistic style, which is reportedly why she was chosen to paint the former first lady.
"Sherald uses greyscale to paint skin tone in order to take away 'color,' so her subjects can be seen for their personality and presence," Bennett wrote on Twitter.
"It’s not supposed to 'look like her' in the traditional sense of portraiture. These portraits break the mold of how we as the viewer consider the depiction of a person. This is why Sherald and Wiley were chosen," she added of the artists.
President Obama's portrait was completed by Kehinde Wiley, a Yale University-trained painter known for his artistic depiction of African-Americans.
Both portraits will hang in Smithsonian's National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. alongside those of previous American leaders. The portraits will be available for public viewing starting Tuesday.