While some commenters gushed that the first lady was "beyond beautiful" and "gorgeous," others mocked the image as highly airbrushed and compared the gauzy background -- a window in the White House residence -- to 1990s school portrait settings.
Other critics jumped on a line in the White House statement that said the portrait was taken in Trump's "new residence at the White House."
While every other modern first lady has accompanied her husband to Washington, the 46-year-old Trump has remained at her luxury triplex penthouse in Manhattan and not made many public appearances.
Trump has said she would remain in New York until son Barron finishes the school year.
It's not the first time that a first lady portrait has stoked controversy. Michelle Obama was criticized for wearing a sleeveless dress in her first official portrait in 2009, with some saying the bare arms were too casual.