The image is a unauthorized version of a classic French painting and although the gesture was meant to be a positive nod to Obama's public persona ... it didn't work!
The image appears on the August 2012 cover of Spanish magazine Fuera de Serie. A number of sites have called the cover inappropriate because it depicts First Lady Michelle Obama in imagery closely associated with slavery.The magazine used the photo to run alongside a story about Obama's popularity and strength in the White House, stating, "Behind every great man there is a great woman." While the Spaniards may understand their own message behind the image, none of us here in the Electronic Village are having it.
French artist Marie-Guillemine Benoist completed the "Portrait d'une négresse" by the year 1800 — six years after the abolition of slavery in France (and two years before it was partially reinstated by Napoleon Bonaparte). Critics generally regard the painting as a show of support for feminism and Black rights.
Art historian James Smalls writes that "the artist responded to early nineteenth-century French racialism and the less-than-desirable treatment of women," concluding that "her painting may be seen as a voice of protest, however small, in the discourse over human bondage."