WASHINGTON, Feb.12 (Xinhua) -- Holding on to a long-lasting tradition, the official portraits of the former U.S. President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle were unveiled at Washington's National Gallery Monday.

The pair of life-size paintings were done by African American artists chosen by the former first couple, and both paintings have already been included in the gallery's presidential collection, along with paintings of other former presidents and first ladies.

In Obama's portrait, he was shown wearing a dark suit and seated in a chair against a background of lush greens, staring somewhat sternly at the audience.

In her portrait, Michelle was shown wearing a white dress with geometric patterns, seated sideways and turning her head toward the audience.

Obama expressed his thanks to the artists, saying the painting has captured "the grace, and beauty, and intelligence, and charm and hotness of the woman that I love."

"As I look at this portrait, I'm a little overwhelmed. I'm humbled, honored, proud, but most of all, I'm so incredibly grateful to all those who came before me in this journey," Michelle Obama said in remarks at the unveiling ceremony.

The artists for the two paintings were Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald respectively. They were the first African American artists to be commissioned for the collection.