By Kate Bennett
WASHINGTON (CNN) – Barack and Michelle Obama will re-emerge on the public stage Monday in Washington, only this time for an event that has nothing to do with politics.
The former first couple’s official portraits will be unveiled at the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, a rite of passage for most former presidents, all of whom have their portraits hanging in the museum.
These are perhaps the most anticipated presidential portrait unveilings to date, due in large to the artists the Obamas selected. The former president chose Kehinde Wiley, a Yale University-trained painter famous for his depiction of African-Americans posed in the style of Old Master paintings, regal, formal and filled with pops of color.
The juxtaposition of contemporary urban culture with centuries-old postures and wallpaper-like backgrounds make for bold paintings, of which Obama’s will be Wiley’s most famous to date.
Wiley apparently took thousands of photographs of Obama in order to create the portrait, a process different than the typical “sittings” required for most portraits.
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