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.
- 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 on Wikipedia
- Birthplace: Hodgenville, Kentucky, United States of America
- Presidency: 16
- V.P.: Andrew Johnson, Hannibal Hamlin
- 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 on Wikipedia
- Birthplace: Eastern United States, Brookline, New England, Norfolk County, United States of America
- Presidency: 35
- V.P.: Lyndon B. Johnson
- 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 on Wikipedia
- Birthplace: Denison, Texas, United States of America
- Presidency: 34
- V.P.: Richard Nixon
- 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 on Wikipedia
- Birthplace: Lamar, Missouri, United States of America
- Presidency: 33
- V.P.: Alben W. Barkley