President’s Day: How artists paint the president

Once you enter the political arena, your image is no longer in your control. There will be political cartoons and caricatures, certainly — but also, if you become president, a formal and dignified official portrait to mark your tenure in America’s highest office. We remember presidents for the policies they pushed, the speeches they gave, their moments of courage and weakness — and the way they were portrayed by artists and photographers, who can influence our perception of a president through their aesthetic choices.

We’ve gathered together a variety of great artistic representations of presidents throughout history — whether they’re dignified formal portraits or the offbeat paintings of President Obama by artists Ron English or Dan Lacey, “Painter of Pancakes.” Take a look.


View Photo Gallery: Artists have depicted our commander in chief in dignified, formal portraits and playful caricature.

Related: Who was the most underrated president?

Maura Judkis covers culture, food, and the arts for the Weekend section and Going Out Guide.
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