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.