If you needed proof that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, behold the social commentary after the National Portrait Gallery unveiled portraits of former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama.
The new paintings, by Amy Sherald and Kehinde Wiley, will be included in the gallery’s America’s Presidents exhibit.
It is the only place, outside the White House, with a complete collection of presidential portraits from George Washington to Barack Obama, according to Time. The Obama paintings will be available for public viewing starting Tuesday.
A different set of portraits of the former first couple will eventually hang in the White House, according to the Associated Press.
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As the online response dissolved into a partisan food fight, social media put on its art critic’s hat, for better or worse.
The portraits were painted by African-American artists personally chosen by the Obamas. Baltimore-based Sherald painted the former first lady.
Who is that woman in the painting, people asked?
On the other hand …
Here’s what it sounded like when the president’s portrait was unveiled.
Wiley, noted for his vivid, large-scale paintings of African-Americans, created the former president’s portrait. The painting’s green, leafy backdrop drew dozens of comments ranging from the snarky to the sublime.
Art aficionados tried to help out their culturally challenged brethren of Twitter.
One keen-eyed observer noted that Wiley’s work can be seen at Kansas City’s Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.
The fact that the Obamas chose African-American painters was not lost on folks and drew applause.