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Artist Uses Artificial Intelligence To Reconstruct Realistic Portraits of Historical Figures

AI Portrait by Bas Uterwijk

Nefertiti

Have you ever wondered what famous historical figures like Nefertiti and Cleopatra looked like in real life? Well, Bas Uterwijk might be able to show you a pretty good guess. The Dutch photographer and digital artist creates amazing AI portraits of famous historical figures using innovative neural network reconstructions. His most recent additions to the ongoing series transport viewers to ancient Egypt, the Renaissance, and 18th-century Europe, among other time periods.

To create these portraits, Uterwijk uploads numerous references of the person's likeness to the AI applications. Then, he makes small adjustments to the program until he is satisfied with the result. “These ‘Deep Learning' networks are trained with thousands of photographs of human faces and are able to create near-photorealistic people from scratch or fit uploaded faces in a ‘Latent Space' of a total of everything the model has learned,” Uterwijk explains. “I think the human face hasn't changed dramatically over thousands of years and apart from hairstyles and makeup, people that lived long ago probably looked very much like us, but we are used to seeing them in the often distorted styles of ancient art forms that existed long before the invention of photography.”

Not only does he reimagine real-life royals such as Tutankhamun and Elizabeth I in realistic portraits, but he also applies his digital manipulations to famous works of art, including Michelangelo's David sculpture and Leonardo da Vinci's Mona Lisa painting. “Just as photography changed the shape of classical painting, techniques based on artificial intelligence will start influencing and inspiring art and (post-)photography,” Uterwijk continues. “AI applications are developing at an incredible speed and it will influence almost all segments of our society.”

Scroll down to see more digital portraits of historical figures and follow Uterwijk on Instagram and Twitter to keep up to date with his projects.

Dutch artist Bas Uterwijk uses AI applications to create realistic portraits of historical figures.

AI Portrait by Bas Uterwijk

Cleopatra

AI Portrait by Bas Uterwijk

Tutankhamun

AI Portrait by Bas Uterwijk

Akhenaten

AI Portrait by Bas Uterwijk

Fayum Mummy Portrait

AI Portrait by Bas Uterwijk

Fayum Mummy Portrait

AI Portrait by Bas Uterwijk

Fayum Mummy Portrait

AI Portrait by Bas Uterwijk

Queen Tia

AI Portrait by Bas Uterwijk

Idia

AI Portrait by Bas Uterwijk

Jesus (based on Leonardo da Vinci's “Salvator Mundi”)

AI Portrait by Bas Uterwijk

“Mona Lisa”

AI Portrait by Bas Uterwijk

Michelangelo's “David”

AI Portrait by Bas Uterwijk

Aphrodite

AI Portrait by Bas Uterwijk

Apollo

AI Portrait by Bas Uterwijk

William Shakespeare's Juliet Capulet

AI Portrait by Bas Uterwijk

Judith Leyster

AI Portrait by Bas Uterwijk

Elizabeth I

AI Portrait by Bas Uterwijk

Vincenzo Catena's “Portrait of a Young Man”

AI Portrait by Bas Uterwijk

Sandro Botticelli's “Portrait of a Young Man Holding a Roundel”

AI Portrait by Bas Uterwijk

Farmer from “Laren” by Martinus Van Regteren Altena

AI Portrait by Bas Uterwijk

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

AI Portrait by Bas Uterwijk

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

AI Portrait by Bas Uterwijk

Sofonisba Anguissola

AI Portrait by Bas Uterwijk

Isabella Brant

AI Portrait by Bas Uterwijk

Lilith

AI Portrait by Bas Uterwijk

Mary Shelley

AI Portrait by Bas Uterwijk

Anne Lister

AI Portrait by Bas Uterwijk

Doomguy

Bas Uterwijk: Website | Instagram | Twitter

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Bas Uterwijk.

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Margherita Cole

Margherita Cole is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and illustrator based in Southern California. She holds a BA in Art History with a minor in Studio Art from Wofford College, and an MA in Illustration: Authorial Practice from Falmouth University in the UK. When she’s not writing, Margherita continues to develop her creative practice in sequential art.
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