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The National Portait Gallery in Washington D.C. features some of the country’s most influential Americans, from Abraham Lincoln to Martin Luther King Jr. to Bob Dylan. Now, Seattle’s most famous philanthropic couple have joined those ranks. A new portrait of Bill & Melinda Gates was unveiled today. (See large version below.)

“I cannot resist saying that those of us on the staff were thrilled when the portrait developed as a joint portrait,” museum director Martin Sullivan said in a blog post.  “In fact, a double portrait, particularly of spouses who work closely with each other, is a tricky business; to catch not only the intimacy and the conversation, but the spark between them. This is, I think, one of the characteristics of this portrait that we are particularly thrilled for you to see.”

Artist Jon Friedman said the painting — based on photos taken of Bill & Melinda at their personal offices in Kirkland — was a challenge since it represented his first double portrait.

I am no art critic, but I think Friedman nailed it. What do you think?

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