A look at Barack and Michelle Obama’s stunning, unique official portraits.

The presidential likenes has a long, storied history dating all the way back to George Washington.

On Feb. 12, Barack and Michelle Obama’s likenesses were added to the collection.

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery launched the photograph of former President obama, immortalizing the 44 th president for benefit of future generations. The oil painting, created by New York-based visual master Kehinde Wiley, registers Obama roosted atop a chair against a background of rich ivy. On the verge of weepings now and then during his speech, Wiley observed on his “obsession with chance” and how that positioned him in the room with America’s first black president.

Kehinde Wiley’s portrait of Barack Obama. Photo by Mark Wilson/ Getty Images.

Another portrait, of onetime first lady Michelle Obama, was coated by Baltimore artist Amy Sherald. During the unveiling ritual, Sherald described her use, which tends to take a quite minimalist approaching to themes and their surrounds, saying, “The illustrations I create aspire to have … a message of humanity.” Wiley and Sherald, chosen by the Obamas, met National Portrait Gallery history as the first black artists to decorate a presidential couple.

Michelle Obama and artist Amy Sherald launches the onetime first lady’s biography. Photo by Saul LoebAFP/ Getty Images.

There’s a lot of necessitating be integrated into Barack Obama’s biography, hidden away in the background.

Among the ivy are flairs of off-color, pink, purple, and gold. Wiley has pointed out that the blue lilies were meant to represent Kenya, where Obama’s father was from; jasmine flowers represented Hawaii, his birthplace; and the shining chrysanthemums, Chicago’s official flower, represented his adopted Midwestern home. Tying the flowers together the ivy vines might typify how it all — his status as the lad of an immigrant with a varied geological and ethnic background — merges together in a emblem of America at its best.

Barack Obama looks at the sketches. Photo by Saul Loeb/ AFP/ Getty Images.

It’s that ability to meld aged and new that reaches Wiley such a singular, innovative artist.

During his speech at the Obama portrait unveiling, Wiley reflected on the facts of the case that, growing up, he didn’t often interpret parties like him represented on canvas and how that invigorated him to try to provide a bit of a improvement in the prowes life. His project frequently blends modern black representations, some famous and some simply people he found interesting, and elements of older paintings. The finished products tend to be distinct from both modern and historic acts, spawning him the excellent person to paint a chairwoman who surely upholds out in record and appearance.

Kehinde Wiley in front of one of his make-ups in 2010 in Berlin, Germany. Photo by Andreas Rentz/ Getty Images for PUMA.

A quick glance at some of his past slog demonstrates what becomes Wiley one of the most fascinating living creators in America — if not the world.

Wiley’s 2005 photograph of hip-hop trio Salt-N-Pepa. Photo by Paul Hawthorne/ Getty Images.

Wiley’s “Le paiement du tribut” at the International Contemporary Art Fair in 2011. Photo by Francois Guillot/ AFP/ Getty Images.

Wiley’s “Abed al Ashe and Chaled el Awari” at the 2013 FIAC International Contemporary Art Fair in Paris. Photo by Francois Guillot/ AFP/ Getty Images.

Wiley’s “Saint Francis” portrait sold at auction in September 2017. Photo by Leon Neal/ Getty Images.

Wiley’s work, including his Obama portrait, could help inspire a whole generation of craftsmen not used to seeing themselves accurately represented.

Just as Obama’s election had the power to encourage young pitch-black Americans to get involved in government and meditate running for place, Wiley’s body of work mails the same message to kids in the prowes life — a message that they don’t have to be ashamed of who they are and they can succeed by cuddling it.

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