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Artist Recreates How Iconic Figures From History Would Really Look in Real Life

Digital Portraits by Bas Uterwijk

Fayum Mummy

Dutch photographer and digital artist Bas Uterwijk shines a light on what iconic figures from history might have looked like in real life. By using various digital manipulation tools, he is able to create photorealistic portraits of famous artists, leaders, mummies, philosophical thinkers, and even the models of paintings.

Based in Amsterdam, Uterwijk has a background in computer graphics, 3D animation, and special effects. He uses a well-known image of each subject to transform them into a photographic portrait. For instance, the enigmatic Mona Lisa is reimagined as a real person with barely-there brows, luminescent skin, and bright eyes. Even some of the most famous sculptures from art history receive a makeover, like Michelangelo's David and the Statue of Liberty—the latter of whom is represented in characteristic blue tones reminiscent of her real-life patina.

Additionally, Uterwijk uses painting as inspiration for some of his portrayals of historical figures. The French military leader and emperor Napoleon Bonaparte is immediately recognizable in his stoic expression and official uniform, just like his official portrait by Jacques-Louis David. Similarly, the digital artist infuses the painting of Italian philosopher Niccolò Machiavelli with incredible lifelike vibrancy and emotion. Each one of Uterwijk's stunning digital portraits adds a new layer of intrigue to these prominent characters.

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

Dutch artist Bas Uterwijk uses digital manipulation to show what famous figures from history would have really looked like.

Digital Portraits by Bas Uterwijk

Statue of Liberty

He creates photorealistic portraits of iconic characters from paintings and sculptures, as well as representations of artists, political leaders, and philosophers.

Digital Portraits by Bas Uterwijk

Vincent van Gogh

Digital Portraits by Bas Uterwijk

Michelangelo's “David”

Digital Portraits by Bas Uterwijk

Jesus of Nazareth

Digital Portraits by Bas Uterwijk

Napoleon Bonaparte

Digital Portraits by Bas Uterwijk

Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn

Digital Portraits by Bas Uterwijk

“Billy the Kid”

Digital Portraits by Bas Uterwijk

Sandro Botticelli

Digital Portraits by Bas Uterwijk

Niccolò Machiavelli

Digital Portraits by Bas Uterwijk

Fayum Mummy

Digital Portraits by Bas Uterwijk

George Washington

Digital Portraits by Bas Uterwijk

“Doomguy”

Digital Portraits by Bas Uterwijk

Elizabeth I

Digital Portraits by Bas Uterwijk

Jan van Eyck

Digital Portraits by Bas Uterwijk

“Mona Lisa”

Digital Portraits by Bas Uterwijk

Caracalla

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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