For the Wednesday release of their official portraits, former president Barack Obama and former first wife Michelle Obama visited the White House one more.
In his portrait, Barack Obama is shown standing in front of an empty, white background. In her portrait, Michelle is shown seated on a red couch and donning a blue dress.
The Obama portraits unveiled: pic.twitter.com/PTWUQelpnu
— Eugene Daniels (@EugeneDaniels2) September 7, 2022
Barack was portrayed by artist Robert McCurdy, and Michelle was painted by Sharon Sprung, according to The Associated Press.
The official White House portraits of former President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama have been unveiled in a Wednesday ceremony.
— The Associated Press (@AP) September 7, 2022
On Twitter, several people are criticizing Barack Obama’s image for having a white background.
I’m sorry to say, but #sharonsprung portraits of @BarackObama and @MichelleObama are disappointing, C-. Barack background looks incomplete. It’s ALL WHITE! 🤔 Oh well…#Obama #Biden #OfficalWhiteHousePortrait pic.twitter.com/keIKsJsip9
— José (@radioheadarmy) September 7, 2022
Former President Barack Obama and former First Lady Michelle Obama unveil their official White House portraits. pic.twitter.com/XAri4kN0wj
— The Recount (@therecount) September 7, 2022
J.J. McCullough, a columnist for the Washington Post, stated that the painting “feels too unambitious for the White House.”
The other portraits are better, especially Michelle's —they captured more of the couple's personality.
President Obama's with the white background is cool but feels too unambitious for the White House, while Michelle's depiction seems kinda… frumpy and awkwardly "regal." https://t.co/oSlJpMWI0t
— J.J. McCullough (@JJ_McCullough) September 7, 2022
Former business leaders are typically depicted in presidential portraits standing in a White House environment, such as on the balcony or in the Oval Office.
Official portraits of presidents like Andrew Johnson and John Adams have plain black backgrounds, but a presidential photo with a white background is unusual.
Obama joked that McCurdy “talked me out of wearing a tan suit” and refused to fix up his appearance in the portrait.
Obama: You’ll note that he refused to hide any of my grey hairs. Refused my request to make my ears smaller. He also talked me out of wearing a tan suit pic.twitter.com/CbE7eeLOXy
— Acyn (@Acyn) September 7, 2022
He praised Joe Biden, his former vice president, and said that since taking office, Biden has improved the country’s situation.
Obama to Biden: "The country is better off than when you took office" pic.twitter.com/riGtTJKVWS
— The Post Millennial (@TPostMillennial) September 7, 2022
A former president is expected to visit the White House as a guest of his successor for the official unveiling of his portrait.
The Obamas didn’t experience that during the administration of former President Donald Trump.
The White House press secretary didn’t make it clear if the Biden administration intends to host a presidential portrait ceremony for Trump, according to The New York Times.
“We defer those questions to the White House Historical Association,” Karine Jean-Pierre said at a Tuesday briefing.