It’s helpful to look at Michelle Obama’s portrait by Amy Sherald in the context of the artist’s body of work. (She is amazing, btw)
Then look to the artist’s statement:
Sherald, “known for her stylized, archetypal portrayals of African Americans,” survived a heart transplant in 2012, the museum notes. “A personification of resilience herself, Sherald conveys the inner strength of her subjects through a combination of calm expressions and confrontational poses,” the gallery writes.
Let’s then look at the content of the image, the pose, the dress by Michelle Smith for Milly and even the color choice of the background. This portrait is layered in meaning but does require some context.
The dress, Smith said by phone from Paris, is based on one that was in her spring 2017 Milly collection. That season Smith was inspired by a “desire for equality, equality in human rights, racial equality, LGBTQ equality,” she says.
The pose, seems contemplative and very measured.
The light blue background is telling a story too. Light blue is associated with health, healing, tranquility, understanding, and softness.
Here’s a link to Kihinde Wiley’s work as well, he is also amazing!
Both of these paintings are absolutely stunning and wonderful additions to the Portrait Gallery. I hope that helps! What do you all think?