All the Presidential Portraits, Ranked

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.

Photo:

  • 1
    1,003 VOTES
    Abraham Lincoln
    Photo: George Peter Alexander Healy / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
    Abraham Lincoln (February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) was an American statesman and lawyer who served as the 16th president of the United States from 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. Lincoln led the nation through the American Civil War, its bloodiest war and its greatest moral, constitutional, and political crisis. He preserved the Union, abolished slavery, strengthened the federal government, and modernized the U.S. economy. Born in Kentucky, Lincoln grew up on the frontier in a poor family. Self-educated, he became a lawyer, Whig Party leader, Illinois state legislator and Congressman. In 1849, he left government to resume his law practice, but angered by the success of ...more
    • Birthplace: Hodgenville, Kentucky, United States of America
    • Presidency: 16
    • V.P.: Andrew Johnson, Hannibal Hamlin
    1,003 votes
  • 2
    1,236 VOTES
    John F. Kennedy
    Photo: Aaron Shikler / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
    John Fitzgerald Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963), often referred to by initials JFK and Jack, was an American politician who served as the 35th president of the United States from January 1961 until his assassination in November 1963. Kennedy served at the height of the Cold War, and the majority of his work as president dealt with managing relations with the Soviet Union and Cuba. A Democrat, Kennedy represented Massachusetts in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate prior to becoming president. Kennedy was born in Brookline, Massachusetts, and graduated from Harvard University in 1940, before joining the U.S. Naval Reserve the following year. During World War II, he ...more
    • Birthplace: USA, Massachussetts, Brookline
    • Presidency: 35
    • V.P.: Lyndon B. Johnson
    1,236 votes
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower
    Photo: James Anthony Wills / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
    Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower ( EYE-zən-how-ər; October 14, 1890 – March 28, 1969) was an American army general and statesman who served as the 34th president of the United States from 1953 to 1961. During World War II, he was a five-star general in the Army and served as Supreme Commander of the Allied Expeditionary Force in Europe. He was responsible for planning and supervising the invasion of North Africa in Operation Torch in 1942–43 and the successful Invasion of Normandy in 1944–45 from the Western Front. Eisenhower was born David Dwight Eisenhower in Denison, Texas, and he was raised in Kansas in a large family of mostly Pennsylvania Dutch ancestry. His family had a strong religious ...more
    • Birthplace: Denison, Texas, United States of America
    • Presidency: 34
    • V.P.: Richard Nixon
    826 votes
  • 4
    744 VOTES
    Harry S. Truman
    Photo: Greta Kempton (Harry S. Truman Library) / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
    Harry S. Truman (May 8, 1884 – December 26, 1972) was the 33rd president of the United States from 1945 to 1953, succeeding upon the death of Franklin D. Roosevelt after serving as vice president. He implemented the Marshall Plan to rebuild the economy of Western Europe, and established the Truman Doctrine and NATO. Truman was elected to the United States Senate in 1934 and gained national prominence as chairman of the Truman Committee aimed at reducing waste and inefficiency in wartime contracts. Soon after succeeding to the presidency he authorized the first and only use of nuclear weapons in war. Truman's administration engaged in an internationalist foreign policy and renounced ...more
    • Birthplace: Lamar, Missouri, United States of America
    • Presidency: 33
    • V.P.: Alben W. Barkley
    744 votes
  • Theodore Roosevelt
    Photo: John Singer Sargent / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
    Theodore Roosevelt Jr. ( ROH-zə-velt; October 27, 1858 – January 6, 1919) was an American statesman, politician, conservationist, naturalist, and writer who served as the 26th president of the United States from 1901 to 1909. He served as the 25th vice president from March to September 1901 and as the 33rd governor of New York from 1899 to 1900. As a leader of the Republican Party, he became a driving force for the Progressive Era in the United States in the early 20th century. His face is depicted on Mount Rushmore alongside George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln. He is generally ranked in polls of historians and political scientists as one of the five best ...more
    • Birthplace: Manhattan, New York City, New York, United States of America
    • Presidency: 26
    • V.P.: Charles W. Fairbanks
    885 votes
  • Thomas Jefferson
    Photo: Rembrandt Peale / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
    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 beginning of the American Revolution, he served in the Continental Congress, representing Virginia, and then served as a wartime Governor of Virginia. In May 1785, he became the United States Minister to France and later the first United States Secretary of State serving under President George Washington. In opposition to Alexander Hamilton's Federalism, Jefferson and his close friend, James ...more
    • Birthplace: Shadwell, Virginia, United States of America
    • Presidency: 3
    • V.P.: Aaron Burr, George Clinton
    757 votes