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I am no art aficionado, but I have always thought that a portrait should in as many ways as possible reflect the inner persona of the subject, whether that be the youthful beauty of Marie Antoinette, the fierce determination of Muhammad Ali or the mysterious charm of the Mona Lisa.

I am disappointed with the official portraits of President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama because neither one reflects the profound joy that radiated from these two lovely people [“Artists join Obamas in crossing color barrier of official portraits,” Feb. 13, A1]. The president’s face certainly reflects the gravity of his office but nothing of his affability, his honesty, his earnestness or his playful nature. The first lady’s face looks nothing like her. She is a hearty, welcoming soul; comfortable in her own skin; a nurturer and a protector devoted to children and family; and that Cheshire-cat smile of hers could melt butter. If you showed this portrait to random people, I’ll bet they couldn’t even guess who the woman is.

When I look at these portraits, sadly, I do not see the man and woman I loved and admired for the qualities they so openly shared with the rest of us.

Steven Lequire, Des Moines