We tracked down an extremely talented artist who produces renderings of some of the most notorious historical figures and what they would look like if they lived today. We delve through their lives and highlight their successes and failures. Here are 30 amazing artistic images of some of the most prominent figures of history.
To be clear, the U.K. has produced many great writers throughout the annals of human history. And for someone who lived during the late 18th and early 19th centuries, Austen was incredibly forward-thinking for her time. She advocated for women’s dependence during a time when that was practically an impossibility.
Putting that aside, she also wrote many famous novels. But to be sure, this rendering is probably one of the best we’ve seen and looks like a surefire candidate to be one of the best on this list with the resemblance.
Believe it or not, Cleopatra VII was actually the last Egyptian ruler before the country saw during the Roman dynasty and it should also be noted that she isn’t entirely Egyptian in descent either. In fact, she was of Greek origin and was a part of the Ptolemaic Dynasty.
It’s also said that she knew many different languages and was a rather charismatic leader who commanded much authority after the passing of Alexander the Great. It almost goes without saying that this depiction is as gorgeous as it is accurate.
What you see here is an image representing the famous conqueror, Napoleon. What you may not know about him is that he was actually quite small in stature. He stood at about 5’7”, which isn’t terribly short, but he would definitely be shorter than the average male height by today’s standards.
But what’s almost more impressive is the rendering of this picture. Napoleon can be compared to many celebrities of the modern era. He looks almost similar to Elon Musk or perhaps even Quentin Tarantino.
Eleanor of Toledo
Also known as the Duchess of Florence, Eleanor of Toledo was known as a noblewoman in her own right. She was born in Spain, but eventually married into the Medici family. She eventually married Cosimo I de Medici, who was the Grand Duke of Tuscany in Italy.
She was certainly busy, too, but that tends to happen when you are the mother of 11 children. Overall, this was definitely one of our favorite paintings, with yet another example of someone who decided to keep her hair up, which was commonplace among women during the sixteenth century.
It’s only fitting that this woman comes after King Henry VIII, especially because she will always be held in higher regard. The subject in question, here, is Anne Boleyn, whose life met a swift end after marrying Henry. In fact, Henry wanted to end their marriage which led to his desire to separate the church and state powers.
The reason for this was because he disagreed with the papacy, who implored him to retain his marriage and not seek a divorce. But putting history aside, we have to question what led him to do this because Boleyn had astounding beauty beyond measure to be sure.
If you happen to look like Abraham Lincoln, then congratulations to you. Not only do you happen to look snazzy and successful in real life, but you also happen to look like one of the most iconic and undisputedly reputable U.S. presidents of all time.
What’s perhaps even more impressive about his complexion is that it still holds up in a contemporary sense, too. If someone was walking the streets of New York City and happened to have a doppelganger of Lincoln, you can expect him to be the talk of the town.
This picture is actually done from a painting depicting Simotta Vespucci, who was allegedly one of Botticelli’s lovers and was born during the mid-1500s. This seems to be a pretty accurate portrayal. Although you could argue the hair needs to be a bit lighter, the artist probably had to take real-life circumstances into account.
And while this probably isn’t the best representation on this list, it’s still impressive to say the least. It’s certainly a better rendering than any of us could do. It also should be said the artist did a great job of keeping the innocence of this historical figure, too.
Mary, Queen of Scots
This is an impressive picture of Mary, Queen of Scots. This probably gets the nod for our overall favorite, too. She was, as you may have guessed, the queen of Scotland. She took the mantle during the mid-16th century and had a tough reign, including imprisonment among other things.
The final rendering is very astounding, to say the least. And it also made us question why women during this time didn’t wear their hair down. But it probably goes without saying that it was due to some form of misogyny, if history is any reliable indicator.
That’s right, you guessed correctly (maybe) that this rendering is of the infamous Roman emperor Caligula. Apparently, he was so despised in the Roman Empire that there were several people who were plotting his demise. But regardless of all that, we’ll digress.
He almost looks something akin to Mark Zuckerberg, which would make sense, since Zuckerberg certainly has and resembles Mediterranean features. But hey, we’re not trying to compare Zuckerberg to Caligula. We’re sure the former is a great guy in person, or so we’ve heard.
Agrippina, Caligula’s younger sister
Here we have Agrippina the Younger, who was the sister to the Roman emperor Caligula; and also the mother to Emperor Nero. The artist said she didn’t have any renderings to go off of, here, so she went with her gut instinct and we’re pretty sure it paid off in the long run.
While there are no confirmations that her hair was brunette, this was probably a pretty safe bet to be sure. But if there is any constant theme on this list, it is to not take looks at face value. Reports say she had quite a ruthless and even violent personality.
Anne of Cleves, one of King Henry VIII’s wives
This portrait is Anne of Cleves, who was one of King Henry VIII’s wives, and perhaps one of the lucky ones because her marriage with Henry VIII ultimately failed. Of course, we all know the story of his wives, who all saw a bitter end with him.
To be sure, their marriage wasn’t annulled due to her attractiveness. Indeed, she is definitely one of the prettiest on this list. But luckily for her, she got a nice settlement after the annulment, which is just more proof that she got lucky in the process.
You know him as the stylish and dashing inventor; one of the founding fathers himself–Benjamin Franklin. And while the resemblance is incredible, you would be remiss to say you didn’t love this guy. After all, Franklin was one of the more popular founding fathers of the U.S.
That aside though, this is probably one of the best pictures on this list. If you look closely, it almost looks as though he’s about to teach a course at a university or sell somebody something that will likely change the world (if history is of any indication).
Madame du Barry
Here you’ll see a picture of Madame du Barry, who lived during the French Revolution and was one of King Louis’ mistresses. Suffice it to say, her beauty was certainly unparalleled; and you can tell she was one of the few examples of women who decided to let her hair down in some of her portraits.
The final product looks pretty amazing. Indeed, she looks like someone straight out of the royalty line of genetics. And that makes sense, because she basically was. Her specific features were quoted as very attractive with “almond-shaped blue eyes,” according to Haslet.
Queen Elizabeth I
This rendering of Queen Elizabeth I is simply astounding. We had to do a double-take and convince ourselves that it wasn’t real. It goes to show the amazing technology and capabilities that PhotoShop wields. It should also be noted that Elizabeth holds particular significance, too.
She represented the last of the English monarchy in line of five former monarchs per the House of Tudor. So to that end, it’s no wonder she already has a complexion hinting at the future and longing for a contemporary look.
It’s pretty easy to assume that Pocahontas would be gorgeous by today’s standards. And this rendering proves just that. After all, it seems to be a pretty accurate depiction of her facial features despite a couple of centuries making it somewhat difficult for the artist to go off of.
For all of the history nerds out there, Pocahontas’ real name was Amonute. The former distinction was a nickname given to her which also means “playful one.” She was also instrumental in the settlement of Jamestown, Virginia during the beginnings of the United States.
Shown here is a young portrait of Queen Victoria, who had an interesting and nuanced role concerning her reign in both the U.K. and the world. In fact, she didn’t stay within the confines of the United Kingdom during her reign. She also adopted a ruling title of Empress of India.
She will probably get our vote for one of the most attractive on this list to be sure. And another interesting historical fact about her reign is that it came towards the end of England’s notorious colonial era.
When you look like Julius Caesar, it’s probably safe to say you will command quite a dominating presence. Caesar was known for being a brutal dictator; and this guy looks like he could be a top CEO of a Fortune500 company. That sounds pretty par for the course all things considered, historically.
Although it seems like this rendering has softened him up a little bit. It’s probably true to some extent, given this picture and his demeanor that he wouldn’t be an insane tyrant by today’s standards. But he would likely be up to some form of 21st century mischief to be sure.
Duchess of Devonshire
Pictured here is Georgiana Cavendish who was the Duchess of Devonshire, which is located in modern-day England. She even has some recent royalty ties to the crown, too, with mild ties to Princess Diana, reportedly. Her beauty was certainly unmatched in any case.
And like Princess Diana, she gained much notoriety throughout her lifetime thanks to her involvement in activist agendas and prominence as an author. Her life often gets compared to Diana’s, since both experienced their fair share of tragedies.
Catherine of Aragon, one of King Henry VIII’s wives
Here before you is Catherine of Aragon, and yet another added to the list of King Henry VIII’s wives. She lives during the 1500s, and the artist said she tried to depict her “piety.” Well, she certainly did a great job in general.
Her history is quite somber, as she was eventually banished from England by Henry VIII mainly because he set up a secret ceremony with one of the Boleyn girls while she was on a diplomatic errand in Dover. We salute her though, especially for all of the hardships she had to go through.
Empress Elizabeth of Austria
Pictured here is Empress Elizabeth of Austria during the mid to late 19th century. The final result certainly made her look younger than she looks in many historical documents. But she was also known as someone who lived long past the average age during the time at 60 years old.
She was known for being extremely talented and having an unyielding passion for the arts. Elizabeth participated -and was quite good- in a number of artistic pursuits. These included ballet, literature, music and architecture just to name a few.
King Henry VIII never aged well
For someone who was said to have six wives, King Henry VIII certainly was a man of many…talents? But if history is of any indication, this guy was not to be messed with. He would often make sure to consolidate his power, too, in order to make sure he could not easily be usurped.
And for a man to wield so much power, he definitely didn’t look the part. He looks more like that one guy from the Backstreet Boys band than anybody else. His historical significance will always be noted as one who tried to separate church from state in order to amplify the latter’s power.
Let’s face it: Nefertiti is arguably one of the best-looking historical figures of all time. There are many others, too, but the Egyptian beauty is easily in the top ten if not the top five. So if you happen to mildly resemble her, then it’s safe to say that you’re doing a good job.
Let’s just hope this person didn’t end up like the real-life Nefertiti, because let’s just say she didn’t turn out too well after she married Ptolemy–who had questionable ties to her during the end of the ancient Egyptian dynasty. And don’t get us started on Mark Antony, too.
This is probably one of the more unintentionally hilarious depictions on this list thanks to the story of the subject in question, which is King Tutankhamun or “King Tut” for short. To be fair, Tutankhamun was known as a kid during his reign of Egypt, so the artist had to take this into account.
And they did an excellent job. Although the final result looks almost like a member of some kind of boy band. We think he could pass for one of the Jonas brothers in all likelihood by today’s standards.
Alexander the Great
It’s funny to think this guy looks comparable to a frat boy at a prestigious university. Or perhaps someone on a college sports team, too. But it’s pretty fair to say this depiction was pretty spot-on. What’s one of the more interesting parts of this picture is the iris discoloration, too.
Did Alexander the Great have mismatching colored eyes? We’re not entirely sure. But that would be pretty cool though. It would certainly make sense as to why nobody would want to mess with someone who ends up conquering the Middle East, Mediterranean and parts of Asia.
Genghis Khan or Xi Jinping?
The resemblance between the current leader of China and Genghis Khan is pretty astounding. While the latter was a brutal ruler and conqueror, Jinping has seen a much different tenure than his counterpart from the realms of antiquity. That being said though, this rendering still looks somewhat different.
It’s certainly not a perfect replica, but suffice it to say the artist did a good job either way. Given Khan started ruling during the turn of the 13th century, there are only so many pictures of him to go off of, too.
The subject in this picture is supposed to be the elegant and beautiful Marie Antoinette. Specifically, she’s supposed to look like a millennial and suffice it so say she looks pretty similar to that and could certainly pass for one in today’s day and age.
In fact, she looks almost like a celebrity in today’s era. Specifically, she looks almost strikingly similar to Amanda Seyfried or Dakota Fanning. Fun fact, she was the last queen of France before the French Revolution occurred in 1789.
“The Liberator” Simon Bolivar
Also nicknamed as “The Liberator”, Simon Bolivar was truly an interesting character. He was an instrumental leader for Venezuela as a military and also political leader. This picture of him is truly astounding. It just proves how far technology has come in this day and age.
In fact, this is probably the most accurate portrait of him that we’ve seen in our lifetime. And trust us, there is plenty of material to go off of out there. We also can’t help but notice he looks strangely similar to comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, too.
King Richard III
The man before you in this picture is King Richard III. But don’t be fooled by his calm and ostensibly innocent looks. He was quite the rugged and harsh ruler during his time in England. Indeed, don’t let his dapper good looks and charm deceive you into thinking he was a benevolent ruler.
He was the leader of multiple military incursions, including an invasion of France in 1475. But hey, that didn’t stop this artist from drawing him as a hipster. But as the saying goes (and couldn’t be more accurate in this case), looks can certainly be deceiving.
While we think the painting isn’t the perfect representation of Prince Albert -who was also the husband to Queen Victoria- it probably at least was accurate insofar as it captures his womanizer inclinations. After all, he fathered nine children and spread his influence throughout Europe during the mid-19th century.
With that said, it’s fair to note that this guy is nearly as good looking as people assumed him to be. He aged rather quickly and wasn’t exactly model material, which this artist is trying to depict here.
King Louis XV
This man is the infamous King Louis XV, who ruled over France before the French Revolution. And while he looks cool, calm and collected, you should not let his innocent gaze fool you into submission. He was also the second-longest ruling monarch in the country’s history for almost 60 years.
He certainly isn’t the most popular ruler among historians, who gave him low scores on the cohesion of his reign, which saw numerous wars and almost a total depletion of the treasury. Those were key factors in what led to the revolution in the first place.
This article was originally published on Finance101: What Historical Figures Would Look Like Today.
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