Former President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle Obama unveiled their official portraits at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery Monday morning. The highly-anticipated portraits thrust the former first couple back in the spotlight.
However, the portraits received mixed reactions online and the art community has leveled some scathing critiques.
For his painting, Obama chose artist Kehinde Wiley who painted the president fading into the bushes.
Twitter critiques of the works have been harsh. But few struck a nerve more than the take of artist David Combs. After the unveiling, Combs tweeted a mock up of the work, without Obama in the chair.
Combs tells The Daily Caller that the image is an homage to the famous Clint Eastwood speech at the RNC convention in 2012. Combs says:
“I remembered the speech Eastwood had made about the empty chair and thought wouldn’t it be perfect if someone photo-shopped him out of the painting. No one had so I did.”
Eastwood brought out a chair and had a conversation with an “invisible” Obama, saying of the empty chair, “It’s a national disgrace. It may be time for someone else to come along and solve the problem.”
In the speech, Eastwood leaned into the chair and asked:
“What do you want me to tell Romney? I can’t tell him to do that to himself. You’re getting as bad as Biden. Of course, we all know Biden is the intellect of the Democratic Party. Kind of a grin with a body behind it …”
Ah, the memories.