Let us remember how very bad presidential portraits were until the Obamas

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The Obamas presidential portraits just came out, and they are amazing.

SEE ALSO: The internet is enthralled by the Obamas’ official portraits

I want a print of each one for my home. Everyone wants a print of each one for their home. Barack Obama’s portrait should be every album cover from now on.

The Obamas portraits are made even better by the fact that until them, presidential portraits were either the most boring or the strangest creations of all time, and nothing in between. If I weren’t from America and looked at these presidential portraits without knowing anything else, I would think it was a list of potential actors to be cast as the lead of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood.

So let us take a trip down memory lane at how presidential portraits past were simply nothing until the Obamas came along.

George W. Bush

Image: National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

Ah yes, George W. Bush. There he is. There he is looking like a tall Bilbo Baggins after he finished “There and Back Again: A Hobbit’s Tale.” The only thing helping this photo is the fact that there is at least a vase of flowers in the background. Otherwise, very boring portrait that looks like it was taking from my living room, as if I’m on the other side of that couch watching HGTV. And it’s George W. Bush, renowned artist. They couldn’t have let him paint his own portrait?

John F. Kennedy

Image: National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

To this I must say, what the hell. I mean, the guy was shot two years into his presidency and you memorialize him with this? This is an insult! It’s as if he died and no one could remember what he looked like so they had a fourth grader who met him once scribble down their best effort. It’s as if he testified in court but the courtroom sketch artist didn’t have enough time so they just tried their best.

If I were there when this portrait was unveiled, I would say “Ah yes, I can’t wait to remember JFK as someone with a hamburger bun for hair and literally no feet.” A stylistic choice perhaps, but whose? JFK’s middle school bully? Didn’t Jackie go through enough?

Lyndon B. Johnson

Image: National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

Ah yes, a portrait of Lyndon B. Johnson who historically walked to work every morning with one book in his hand, I guess. He looks like he’s playing hooky but since he’s not rebellious at heart is just going to take his homework to a Barnes & Noble and get work done there. This is one of the better portraits, but still. What’s going on here?

Harry S. Truman

Image: National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

I will say things got a little more exciting with Harry S. Truman, which is odd because his portrait was before all of these other presidents, so why didn’t they follow his lead. Truman looks like he was placed in an enchanted forest just outside of Washington D.C. and handed some papers that look like they’re right out of Harry Potter. But seriously? Three blank papers? I’m assuming they illustrate the fact that, as president, one must sign things? 

Abraham Lincoln

Image: National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution

This just looks like no one would let Lincoln use the bathroom until they were finished.

All I can say is, thank God for Obama, who will now be remembered as someone who always shoved a chair into a wall of bushes to watch cars pass by the White House, and looked great while doing it.



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