Popular historical and political figures, their works, lives, and especially their portraits have long captivated much of our culture. We have the luxury of viewing paintings and old photographs, but we often wonder how they would appear today.
Imagine being in Cleopatra’s presence or living in a world where Julius Caesar is in charge. Realistic depictions of some of our most cherished historical figures are no longer frozen in time, thanks to the assistance of some incredible artists and a little technological brilliance. Look at some of the most well-known faces in history to see what they might appear to be like today.
King Tut, who controlled Egyptian power and wealth from 1332 to 1323 B.C., was among the most well-known figures of the 18th Egyptian dynasty. He only held power for ten years, but after the discovery of his completely intact tomb in 1922, he became the most well-known Pharaoh in history, and artifacts from his reign have been displayed in museums all over the world.
King Tut’s youthful appearance can be attributed to the fact that he began ruling at the young age of 10 and passed away at the age of 19, most likely as a result of a battle with malaria. Comparisons between the two photos reveal an innocence in his eyes and enviable thick black hair that makes him look like a young pop star.
One of the first scientists, inventors, politicians, and philanthropists in America was Benjamin Franklin. He also holds the unique distinction of being the only Founding Father to have signed all three Charters of Freedom, the emancipation documents that freed America from British rule and which include the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.
Throughout his life and career, this illustrious and dapper man founded a number of civic institutions, including the University of Pennsylvania. He would undoubtedly have a lot of legal and political sway in Washington if he were a player in the political scene of today.
Anyone who has heard of the Broadway production Hamilton is likely aware that Alexander Hamilton was also one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He was a key contributor to the Constitution’s drafting, and he is credited with creating the modern financial system that we use today.
In the 47 years he lived, before being killed by Aaron Burr in the infamous duel, he accomplished a great deal. His brief life was filled with intrigue, drama, and extramarital relationships. We suspect he would have had a significant impact in this century as well given his “silver fox” appearance in his modern likeness.
Julius Caesar, a member of the First Triumvirate, commanded the infamous Roman armies in the Gallic Wars and effectively turned the Roman Republic into a dictatorship before being assassinated in 44 BC. He was essential to the developments that resulted in the rise of the Roman Empire during his brief reign.
Caesar is portrayed as a strong-willed man with prominent features and a piercing stare in several statues and busts that were made during and after his reign. Recent artistic depictions have a masterful way of capturing the air of authority and power he exuded.
Born around 1595, Pocahontas was a Native American ambassador. She was the daughter of Chief Powhatan, but she became well-known because of her interactions with the settlers in the Jamestown colony and her efforts to mediate peace between the two groups.
Despite the connection between her and John Smith that the corresponding Disney film suggests, she ultimately married John Rolfe. Although it appears that she made some life-saving decisions that kept John Smith alive. She tragically passed away at age 21.
Abraham Lincoln was born into poverty in Springfield, Illinois, but through hard work and integrity, he was able to rise to greatness. He was a self-taught man who went on to practice law, serve in office, and speak out for civil rights.
He was assassinated by John Wilkes Booth in 1865, shortly after the Civil War came to an end, and is remembered for serving as the 16th President of the United States shortly before the war’s start in 1860. He is regarded as one of the greatest presidents in American history because of his love of serving others and his compassionate nature.
Leonardo DaVinci created the timeless, renowned portrait known as The Mona Lisa. But who is the mysterious woman who created the painting? She was Francesco del Giocondo’s wife, a courtesan in her era. Many people visit the Louvre in Paris to try and determine the source of her amusement because of her smile, which betrays a hidden happiness.
Although we doubt that this well-known beauty would be wearing the same Florentine attire if we saw her today, we’re sure we’d recognize that well-known expression if we saw her on television or in a movie because she comes across as a natural performer.
Alexander The Great
One of the greatest political and military minds the world has ever known was Alexander the Great. He was equally charismatic and ruthless, and by the time he was thirty, he had amassed the largest army ever, achieving unheard-of levels of military and political power.
Ancient writings frequently mention the Macedonian conquistador as having heterochromia, a condition where the eyes are a different color. The attractive ruler passed away in Babylon, which he had planned to make his capital, at the age of 33.
Greek philosopher Aristotle, considered one of the fathers of philosophy, had a profound and long-lasting influence on all fields of human knowledge, including logic, biology, ethics, and the arts. Although he may have been overshadowed by his illustrious teacher Plato, his enlightened writings remain as brilliant works that forever altered the subject.
His appearance in the past and the present suggests a man who was usually preoccupied with thought. This almost other-worldly genius would probably have a huge following today because he had brilliant sayings that he shared with anyone.
Queen Elizabeth I
Through his second wife Anne Boleyn, the volatile King Henry VIII had produced Queen Elizabeth I. Elizabeth’s ascent to the throne of England and Ireland became noticeably more precarious as she battled diplomats and family members alike for power after her mother’s untimely death at the hands of her father.
She gained a reputation for political and religious tolerance during her reign because she favored peace over conflict with potential enemies. Both in historical portraits and in the way she is presented today, her striking red hair and porcelain skin leave an impression.
The notorious King Henry VIII of England’s second marriage was to Anne Boleyn, who was also the mother of Queen Elizabeth. King Henry VIII, who was at the time married to Catherine, noticed her and gave her his romantic favor.
Henry grew weary of Anne and had their marriage dissolved as a result of several miscarriages and the birth of a daughter rather than a son. When Elizabeth was only two years old, she was famously found guilty of adultery and given the death penalty by King Henry. In the 2008 movie The Other Boleyn Girl, Natalie Portman played the role of her.
In particular when it came to his romantic and familial relationships, King Henry VIII was renowned for having a volatile personality. From 1491 to 1547, he ruled England with an iron fist, forcing his wife Catherine Aragon to get married again, which resulted in the Protestant Reformation, which had a profound impact on religion.
The ladies would be wise to avoid a contemporary dating profile created by the tyrant, even though depictions of Henry in modern times show a mild-mannered, composed demeanor. There’s no telling how he’ll decide to end the relationship once he gets tired of you, as at least two of his wives can attest.
One of the most important and powerful women in history was Nefertiti. Egypt was incredibly prosperous when the most notorious beauty of Egypt reigned alongside her husband Akhenaten. Before King Tut’s accession, some historians even assert that she assumed power under the alias Neferneferuaten after the passing of her husband.
She is regarded as one of the most beautiful women in history, and for many years after its discovery in Akhenaten’s tomb, her ancient bust served as the benchmark for female power. Her portrayal in the present is equally impressive, and if she appeared on modern-day city streets, she probably wouldn’t go unnoticed.
Emperor Augustus was the great Julius Caesar’s nephew, and when he was a young child, Caesar took him under his wing and prepared him for both military and political success. Augustus returned to Rome to assert his claim to the throne after Caesar was killed by other senators.
Following some tense confrontations with Mark Antony, Brutus, and Longinus, Caesar’s assassins, Augustus eventually won over Caesar’s entire military and the allegiance of thousands of appreciative Romans. Pax Romana, also known as his reign’s establishment of peace in the Roman world, began.
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Early in the 19th century, Napoleon Bonaparte—a military general and emperor—conquered much of Europe. Despite his relatively small stature, his quick promotion through the military ranks during the French Revolution made him a feared force to be reckoned with.
He was eventually captured by British forces and exiled to the island of St. Helena, where he spent the remainder of his days. With an air of aristocracy and entitlement that few have matched, he might have established himself in today’s political scene as well.