Need proof that magazine covers still matter? Look at the recent outcry over Time magazine’s story on millennials. The mag took heaps of flak over the piece, which assailed millennials as lazy, entitled brats—and proved once again that a magazine cover has a way of forcing readers to react. For the exhibit that opened May 17, the National Portrait Gallery dug through their Time cover collection to showcase a selection of iconic works by portraitist Boris Chaliapin. The artist nicknamed “Mr. Time” created an astounding 413 cover portraits for Time from 1942 through 1970, making him the most prolific artist in the magazine’s stable. He captured the most famous and influential people of the day, portraying their spirit more than their exact likeness. The Smithsonian show emphasizes portraits of popular icons like Marilyn Monroe, Olivia de Havilland, Harry Truman, and Muhammad Ali, but the standout may be an image viewers are less likely to identify: a self-portrait of Chaliapin himself.

The exhibition is on view from 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily to Jan. 5 2014 at the National Portrait Gallery, 8th and F streets NW. Free. (202) 633-8300.