history All the Presidential Portraits, Ranked

7.8k votes 699 voters 16k views 42 items Embed

List Rules Vote based on the quality of the portrait only - political beliefs and presidential legacies don't matter on this list.

You may not realize it, but there are official portraits of every US president. This tradition started with George Washington and has continued into modern times, even with the advent of photography. These official paintings of US presidents have not always been the most attractive or dynamic images you will ever see, but all of the US president portraits were commissioned from the best artists of their day and provide a unique insight into each leader.

When you look through this list of portraits of American presidents, some trends become immediately obvious. In the early paintings, with the ironic exception of Washington himself, the presidents are often painted from the bust up in the classic European portrait style. As the years have gone on, however, all the US president portraits have developed and turned more into works of art than straight depictions.

The best US presidential portraits capture the president as you remember them. Some are iconic, like John F. Kennedy's portrait, while others are seriously weird (is that really what Andrew Jackson looked like? Yikes.) Take a look through this official US president portraits gallery and vote on your favorites.

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7 people just voted on Abraham Lincoln


Abraham Lincoln is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list All the Presidential Portraits, Ranked
Photo: George P.A. Healy/The White House

Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. Lincoln led the United States through its Civil War—its bloodiest war and its greatest moral, constitutional and political crisis. In doing so, he preserved the Union, ...more

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Birthplace: Kentucky, Hodgenville, United States of America, United States with Territories, + more

Presidency: 16

V.P.: Andrew Johnson, Hannibal Hamlin

Profession: Statesman, Politician, Lawyer

Also Ranked

#75 on The Greatest American Writers of All Time

#76 on The All-Time Greatest People in History

#34 on The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History

#13 on People We Wish Were Still Alive

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11 people just voted on John F. Kennedy


John F. Kennedy is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list All the Presidential Portraits, Ranked
Photo: Aaron Shikler/The White House

John Fitzgerald Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963), also referred to as John F. Kennedy, JFK, John Kennedy or Jack Kennedy, was the 35th President of the United States. He served from 1961 until his assassination in 1963. Major events during his presidency include the Bay of Pigs Invasion, ...more

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Birthplace: Brookline, Massachusetts, United States of America

Presidency: 35

V.P.: Lyndon B. Johnson

Profession: Politician, Soldier, Screenwriter, Military Officer Author, + more

Also Ranked

#45 on The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History

#4 on People We Wish Were Still Alive

#12 on The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History

#41 on The Most Influential People of All Time

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Theodore Roosevelt


Theodore Roosevelt is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list All the Presidential Portraits, Ranked
Photo: John Singer Sargent/The White House

Theodore "T.R." Roosevelt Jr. was an American politician, author, naturalist, soldier, explorer, and historian who served as the 26th President of the United States. He was a leader of the Republican Party and founder of the Progressive Party insurgency of 1912. He is known for his exuberant ...more

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Birthplace: New York City, Manhattan, USA, New York

Presidency: 26

V.P.: Charles W. Fairbanks

Profession: Statesman, Politician, Police officer, Historian Polymath, + more

Also Ranked

#10 on The Most Important Military Leaders In US History

#8 on The All-Time Greatest People in History

#6 on The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History

#7 on The Most Beloved US Veterans

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George Washington


George Washington is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list All the Presidential Portraits, Ranked
Photo: Gilbert Stuart/The White House

George Washington was the first President of the United States, the Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army during the American Revolutionary War, and one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He presided over the convention that drafted the United States Constitution, which replaced the ...more

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Birthplace: Virginia, USA

Presidency: 1

V.P.: John Adams

Profession: Surveyor, Politician, Soldier, Military Officer Farmer, + more

Also Ranked

#1 on The Most Important Military Leaders In US History

#12 on The All-Time Greatest People in History

#3 on The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History

#15 on The Most Important Military Leaders in World History

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Thomas Jefferson


Thomas Jefferson is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list All the Presidential Portraits, Ranked
Photo: Rembrandt Peale/The White House

Thomas Jefferson was an American Founding Father, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence, and the third President of the United States. He was a spokesman for democracy, and embraced the principles of republicanism and the rights of the individual with worldwide influence. At the ...more

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Birthplace: Contiguous United States, United States of America, United States, with Territories Albemarle County, + more

Presidency: 3

V.P.: Aaron Burr, George Clinton

Profession: Statesman, Inventor, Author, Farmer Architect, + more

Also Ranked

#52 on The Greatest American Writers of All Time

#11 on The All-Time Greatest People in History

#1 on The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History

#64 on People We Wish Were Still Alive

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Dwight D. Eisenhower


Dwight D. Eisenhower is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list All the Presidential Portraits, Ranked
Photo: J. Anthony Wills/The White House

Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army during World War II and served as Supreme Commander of the Allied Forces in Europe; he had responsibility for planning and supervising the invasion of ...more

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Birthplace: Denison, Texas, USA

Presidency: 34

V.P.: Richard Nixon

Profession: Politician, Soldier

Also Ranked

#3 on The Most Important Military Leaders In US History

#40 on The Most Important Military Leaders in World History

#12 on The Most Beloved US Veterans

#16 on The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History

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Franklin D. Roosevelt


Franklin D. Roosevelt is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list All the Presidential Portraits, Ranked
Photo: Frank Salisbury/The White House

Franklin Delano Roosevelt, commonly known by his initials FDR, was an American statesman and political leader who served as the 32nd President of the United States. A Democrat, he won a record four elections and served from March 1933 to his death in April 1945. He was a central figure in world ...more

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Birthplace: Contiguous United States, New York, Dutchess County, United States of America United States, + more

Presidency: 32

V.P.: John Nance Garner, Henry A. Wallace, Harry S. Truman

Profession: Politician, Soldier, Corporate lawyer, Writer Lawyer

Also Ranked

#8 on The Most Enlightened Leaders in World History

#17 on The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History

#76 on The Most Influential People of All Time

#60 on The Most Important Leaders in World History

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Harry S. Truman


Harry S. Truman is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list All the Presidential Portraits, Ranked
Photo: Martha Greta Kempton/The White House

Harry S. Truman is an author. ...more

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Birthplace: United States of America, Lamar, United States, with Territories Missouri, + more

Presidency: 33

V.P.: Alben W. Barkley

Profession: Businessperson, Politician, Haberdasher, Farmer Writer

Also Ranked

#28 on The Most Important Leaders in U.S. History

#18 on The Most Influential Politicians in American History

#5 on The Most Influential People of the Cold War

#14 on The Best Political Nicknames

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