Artificial Intelligence Has Accurately Predicted How Historical Figures Would Look Like in Today’s World

Thu Dec 01 2022

We’ve stared at the paintings, sculptures, and photographs of some of the world’s most famous and influential figures. But thanks to the continued advancement of technology, artificial intelligence (AI) has progressed so far as to actually predict what famous people from a bygone era would look like in today’s world.

Its predictions are scarily accurate and offer us a real glimpse into what a modern version of these legendary icons would look like. One particular AI enthusiast called Hidreley took it upon himself to start creating modernized versions of people from history, but now others have followed in his example. Take a look at the most accurate AI predictions that show us these long-departed figures in a whole new light.

Queen Nefertiti

The Bust of Nefertiti has long been regarded as a masterpiece of ancient Egyptian art and a symbol of feminine beauty. Its realistic proportions, delicate features, and skillful carving have made it an iconic symbol of beauty and power. The Bust of Nefertiti’s face has been used countless times in various art forms, including fashion, film, and literature, and for centuries has represented the beauty and strength of a powerful female leader.

Seeing a modernized version of Nefertiti puts her in a whole new light. We can see that the AI-generated image of herself has all the same features as the realistic bust, but her hair, makeup, and clothes have been adapted to modern times. Seeing her as someone in today’s world truly highlights her exceptional beauty and symmetrical facial features.

Vincent van Gogh

Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh painted over 30 self-portraits over his lifetime. Art historians believe that he used self-portraiture to explore his sense of identity and to capture and document his mental state at the time. Through these paintings, certain emotions can be deciphered, such as loneliness, anguish, and despair.

Van Gogh was born in 1853, so there has always been speculation as to how the artist will have looked in the flesh. AI has certainly captured the Dutch Post-Impressionists’ worrisome look and forlorn expression. Van Gogh was also said to have been a tall man with a broad forehead, expressive eyes, and a curly red beard and mustache. Those features are definitely represented in this AI portrait.

Marie Antoinette

Marie Antoinette was the last queen of France who ruled from the 18th century from the age of 14. Born the archduchess of Austria, she was said to be a mousy-haired, blue-eyed beauty with a curvy figure and pale complexion. In all the depictions of her in paintings from the period, she wore elaborate French Rococo fashions.

So seeing the infamous Queen of France in modern times shows what the French royal would look like without all the pomp and finery. Despite having all the same facial features as she does in paintings of the era, she looks almost unrecognizable. She is known for her extravagance and flamboyance, so seeing a modernized version of her is a stark contrast to her traditional image.

Charlie Chaplin

Everyone knows what Charlie Chaplin looked like, especially later in life when he adopted his trademark mustache, bowler hat, and panda eyes. But what did he look like without makeup and his signature look? Few photos of Chaplin as a young man exist, but the few that do show him to be extremely handsome, with a prominent nose, dark hair, and light blue expressive eyes.

AI shows just how conventionally handsome the silent film actor was in his younger years. Despite his depiction in a modern-day tuxedo, Chaplin looks like a movie star walking down the red carpet all the same. Something about the modernized version of himself tells us that the English comic was always cut out for the silver screen.

Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty wasn’t based on a real person. It was designed by French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and was a gift from France to the United States. Still, the iconic figure is said to have the facial features of a beautiful woman and one that represents freedom and democracy. You’ll notice how her features are strong and dignified, with a calm expression, softly curved nose, full lips, and a defined chin.

Artificial intelligence appears to confirm that the Statue of Liberty does indeed have the facial features of an extremely beautiful woman. We can see the serene expression on her face represented in the modern-day version of the statue, as well as the perfectly symmetrical features. Interestingly, AI predicted that with her facial features, she would most likely be of middle-eastern descent.

Young Hercules

Hercules is a mythical Greek hero, known for his superhuman strength and courage. In sculptures, he is always depicted as a muscular figure, occasionally wearing some kind of lion skin, and often holding a club in one hand and a bow or quiver in the other. The famous marble statue of a youthful Hercules, pictured on the left, was created sometime between 69–96 CE and depicts him as a strong and handsome symbol of masculine power and physical beauty.

Compared with his AI rendition on the left, the modernized version of Hercules certainly shows him in a different light. The artificial intelligence-rendered image shows the same broad forehead, jawline, and straight nose, but it isn’t exactly what we were expecting. Taking his same facial features and putting him in contemporary clothes shows just how ordinary he would look.

Ginger Rogers

Ginger Rogers was an American actress and dancer widely known for her starring role alongside Fred Astaire in a series of Hollywood musical films. Born in 1911, she was famous for her grace and beauty, as well as her signature “Ginger Rogers” look of the 1930s and 40s, consisting of a tailored dress, gloves, and a curly updo.

The modernized version of the Golden Age actress shows her with a contemporary haircut and smart-casual clothes – this version of Rogers has her looking like a young professional. Artificial intelligence maintained the actress’ slim figure, blonde hair, and pale skin, but there’s no doubt that with an updated look, Rogers is almost unrecognizable as her 1920s self.

Antinous From Patras

Antinous was a young Greek man famous for being the probable lover of the Roman emperor Hadrian. In 130 A.D., he passed away at only 21 after drowning in the river Nile, and Hadrian erected a number of statues, busts, and portraits of him in cities throughout the Roman empire. In the marble sculpture “Bust of Antinous from Patras” on the left, his gaze is directed downwards, which is thought to represent his humble and pious nature.

The present-day version of Antinous has retained all of the same features as the “Bust of Antinous from Patras,” currently residing in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens. But with a contemporary haircut, groomed eyebrows, and an Instagram-worthy pout, his AI rendition makes him look as though he could be your average influencer.

Catherine the Great

Russian empress Catherine the Great ruled from 1762 until her death in 1796 and is considered one of the most renowned and influential rulers in modern history. Contemporaries claimed that she was a tall woman with blue eyes, blonde hair, and a long face. and her sense of style and love of fashion was renowned across the country.

We love that this AI rendition depicts the longest-reigning Russian empress later in her life, rather than when she was young. She wasn’t considered to be a great beauty even her youth, but she was said to have a huge amount of charm and bountiful energy – something which the modernized version of Catherine the Great appears to have captured.

Wolfgang Mozart

Austrian composer, musician, and prodigy Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was widely considered one of the greatest composers of the Classical period. Looks-wise, he was said to be a short and slender guy with a pointy nose, wide forehead, and round chin. He is also reported as having light brown hair, but it was often covered by a powdered wig, as was the style at the time.

This AI rendition probably captured Mozart’s features to a T. The features are basically the same, and the modernized version even captured Mozart’s supposed mousy-brown hair. This interpretation of the composer also illustrated Mozart’s alleged grey-blue eye color and pale complexion to such a high degree of realism that it looks more like a photo than a computer-generated image.

Lady Dido Belle

Artist David Martin portrayed the mixed-race British heiress Lady Dido Elizabeth Belle in “Portrait of Dido Elizabeth Belle Lindsay and Lady Elizabeth Murray”, pictured on the left, painted in the 18th century. Lady Dido was born into an upper-class British family thanks to her high-ranking admiral father and was highly educated, but this was rare at the time for a woman in Britain with Caribbean heritage.

The AI-generated image appears to have captured her stunning looks and arresting stare. But what’s even more impressive is the fact that AI technology has retained her seemingly happy spirit. One person on the internet thought the AI rendition caught her character especially well, writing: “I like that the digital version captured her cheeky expression quite nicely.”

William Shakespeare

Considered to be the world’s pre-eminent dramatist and probably the most famous writer of all time, English poet and playwright William Shakespeare is famous for sporting a bald hairstyle and pierced ear. Interestingly, his renowned portrait painted around 1605 (pictured on the left) is thought to be copied from an authentic portrait, but there is no conclusive proof of exactly what Shakespeare looked like.

The famous portrait of Shakespeare captured all the physical aspects we’ve come to know the playwright as having. In modern times, he’s depicted as having a beard, receding hairline, deep-set eyes, and a prominent nose. For some reason, AI has also depicted contemporary Shakespeare as more heavy-set than his Elizabethan counterpart.

Lauren Bacall

We all know what old Hollywood actress Lauren Bacall looked like back in her heyday – the 40s and 50s. She was known for a number of features, such as her tall and slender frame and sultry, deep voice. Bacall had dark brown hair and grey eyes and a long, graceful neck that became her trademark.

The AI-rendered image of Bacall depicts what she would look like as a young woman living in the modern world. Rather than sporting a soft coiffure, Bacall is pictured as wearing her hair as a wavy bob. Despite the transformation in her appearance, artificial intelligence has kept her famously captivating smolder.

Henry Ford

Henry Ford is arguably the single most famous American industrialist and entrepreneur as the man who founded the Ford Motor Company and revolutionized the automotive industry. He was a prominent leader of the early 20th century progressive movement, and while there are a few photos that exist of him, they are all in black and white.

AI gives us a glimpse as to what Ford would have looked like in the flesh, as well as how he would probably style himself should he have been alive today. Ford was a tall, lanky man with a fairly full head of white hair and piercing blue eyes, which we see represented in his AI rendition, too. He was known for dressing well, wearing a black suit and high collar white shirt, and we love the AI interpretation of how that would look like in today’s world.

Bloody Mary

Mary I of England, also known as Mary Tudor, was the daughter of King Henry VIII and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. She was the first queen to rule England in her own right and was known as “Bloody Mary” for her persecution of Protestants. She was a tall and slender woman with auburn hair and deep blue eyes. Aside from that, contemporary accounts described her as having a fair complexion and an oval-shaped face.

The AI rendition of Bloody Mary has updated her Tudor hairstyle and elaborate high-necked smock, replacing it those features instead with sleek bob and smart jacket. The modernized version of King Henry VIII’s has also been rendered with a touch of makeup and eyebrows, both of which are missing in the famous royal portrait.

George Washington

The first President of the United States and one of the founding fathers, George Washington, was a leader of the American Revolution and the first commander-in-chief of the Continental Army. He was a tall man, standing at 6 feet 2 inches tall, and was depicted as having a strong physique, light-blue eyes, and a prominent nose. Written accounts state that he was “rather long and lean” and had reddish-brown hair beneath his powdered wig.

We think that there’s a lot of stuff that AI got right with this modernized version of the first President. It retained Washington’s prominent nose, soft chin and deep-set eyes. But artificial intelligence predicts that rather than having a muscular physique, the American Revolutionary would be more on the heavy side in today’s world.

Caesar Augustus

Emperor Augustus was the first Roman emperor, reigning from 27 BC to 14 AD. He was the grandnephew of Julius Caesar and is remembered for stabilizing the Roman Empire and bringing it to its greatest height. He himself was often depicted in sculpture with stern and noble facial features, a furrowed brow, broad foreheadstrong nose, and a prominent jawline.

In stark contrast to what we thought he would look like, the modernized version of Emperor Augustus has him looking like a runway model! Perhaps with the fortunate facial features that he seemed to have, the Roman emperor would infact have found himself in the modelling world. Rather than ruling over the Roman Empire, a present-day Augustus could find himself ruling the catwalk instead.

Alexander Hamilton

American statesman and Founding Father Alexander Hamilton served as the first United States Secretary of the Treasury. He was instrumental in the establishment of the nation’s financial system and played a major role in the adoption of the Constitution. Hamilton was known for his good looks, with dark hair and a commanding presence. He was described as being tall and slim, with a light complexion and deep blue eyes.

His modern-day counterpart actually does look like a politician, at least according to artificial intelligence. He’s smartly dressed and looking clean and presentable – just as he would have been in the 18th century. We think that AI did an incredibly job recreating all the same facial features in his modern-day portrait – the area around the eyes, eyebrows, and lips appears to be especially similar.

Audrey Hepburn

British actress Audrey Hepburn is one of the best known faces to come out of Old Hollywood. She was and still is considered to be a timeless beauty, with large almond-shaped eyes, high cheekbones, and a small nose. Aside from her facial features, she was known for having a long, graceful neck and slender figure.

While Hepburn’s features are well documented, we just had to see what AI would predict the actress looking like in today’s world. We can see in the artificial intelligence rendition that all her bone structure is the same, but changes have been made to how her eyebrows are shaped, her makeup application, and her hairstyle.

King Henry VIII

King Henry VIII ruled over England from 1509 until his death in 1547, having famously married six times and established a separation between the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church. As a young man, the king was said to have been extremely attractive as a young man, but became morbidly obese as he got older. He was said to have a large, muscular frame, auburn hair, and a fair complexion.

Aside from his physical characteristics, Henry VIII was said to have had a strong presence, which AI appears to have also picked up on. We can see that artificial intelligence captured his large frame and supposed obesity, as well as some key facial traits, such as his tired eyes, thin eyebrows, and small mouth.

Mona Lisa

Arguably the most famous painting in history, Mona Lisa was painted in the 16th century portrait famed artist by Leonardo da Vinci. It depicts a half-length figure of a woman, set against an imaginary landscape, with a mysterious smile and direct gaze, both of which are the most famous features of the painting. Mona Lisa was a real woman who went by the name Lisa Gherardini, and was said to be married to a Florentine fabric merchant.

The modern-day interpretation of the famous Mona Lisa puts all of her famous physical attributes in a contemporary setting. She has the same subtle smile and thoughtful gaze, but suddenly all the mystery has been drained from her image. Grounding the famous sitter in everyday clothes and in direct daylight definately makes her seem like less of an enigma.

Christopher Columbus

Christopher Columbus was an Italian explorer and navigator from the 15th and 16th century who is remembered as the first European to reach the Americas in 1492. Born in Genoa, Italy, he is often credited with the discovery of America, although this is disputed by some historians. Appearance-wise, he was said to be of an average height with a deep tan complexion. Apparently, he also had light brown hair, a wide forehead, and a broad nose.

This AI rendition has kept Columbus’ distinctive features, such as his big, expressive blue eyes and his bulbous nose shape. He also has the same expression in both the painting from 1519 and the artificial intelligence-rendered image, but his contemporary counterpart is noticeably modernized, from the hair to the clothes.

Botticelli Sitter

Portrait of a Young Man by Italian Renaissance artist Sandro Botticelli famously portrays a young city dweller from Florence, who’s name has never been confirmed. This is the only known Botticelli portrait where the sitter is facing the viewer directly, and therefore has long been held as a significant and rare work of art from the period. The young man, whoever he is, has brown eyes, brown hair, and a fair complexion.

AI technology seems to think that a modern-day version of the young city dweller from Florence would have the boyish charm of someone like Rachel Green’s boyfriend Tag from Friends. He also looks somewhat like a high fashion model, with a strong jawline and symmetrical face, and prominent eyebrows.

Marcus Aurelius

Marcus Aurelius was a Roman Emperor from 161 to 180 AD, known for his Stoic philosophy and his development of the Pax Romana, AKA the 200-year-long golden age of Roman imperialism. He was said to be a tall man, with a strong and athletic build, and a beard. Some accounts suggest that he had auburn-colored hair, while others allude to him having dark and curly hair instead.

This AI reconstruction of the Caeser appears to be extremely accurate, last least when it comes to replicating the features on the marble bust, titled “Portrait of the Emperor Marcus Aurelius.” In this instance, the technology has chosen to depict the Roman Emporer with hardk features, rather than with reddish-brown hair.

Madame De Pompadour

Madame De Pompadour was the chief mistress of King Louis XV of France from 1745-1764. She was a prominent figure at the French court and a major patron of the arts, who exerted her influence on French politics, culture, and fashion. In portraits, Madame De Pompadour was depicted wearing white wigs, heavy makeup, and elaborate gowns.

When you take away Madame De Pompadour’s typically theatrical appearance and French Rococo influences, you can see that she would have been immensely beautiful even by today’s standards. She had big, expressive eyes and a round-shaped face, and in all probability, would have been a natural blonde.

Benjamin Franklin

Benjamin Franklin was one of the Founding Fathers of the United States and a famous polymath. He was a successful author, scientist, inventor, printer, political theorist, politician, Freemason, postmaster, and civic activist. In portraits, Franklin is usually painted as having a stern expression, tired eyes, and pursed lips.

We can see that AI kept most of Franklin’s physical features the same, but somehow he has been brought into the 21st century. Strangely, the modernized version of the Founding Father has removed his eyebrows but has brought in the addition of a 5’o clock shadow.

Joan of Arc

Joan of Arc was a 15th-century French military leader who famously led her troops to victory in the Hundred Years’ War. Later canonized as a Roman Catholic saint, she has been depicted in sculpture in a variety of ways over the centuries. In some sculptures, she is depicted bearing a determined expression, whereas in others, we see her as a young woman with a pensive expression on her face.

Artificial intelligence imagines that the modern-day Joan of Arc would likely be a tall woman with brunette hair and large, almond-shaped eyes. We can see that she has high, well-defined cheekbones that make her look as though she could be a model. We love the addition of a bob with bangs, too.

Babe Ruth

American professional baseball player Babe Ruth’s career in Major League Baseball spanned 22 seasons, between the years 1914 to 1935. He was nicknamed “The Bambino” and “The Sultan of Swat” and is widely considered to be one of the greatest baseball players of all time. We can see in photos that he was physically very strong with craggy facial features.

AI kept Babe Ruth’s facial features the same more or less, which makes total sense. The main changes we can see are with his hairstyle and his workout clothes, which have been updated to something contemporary. If you ask us, they also made Babe Ruth look a little more svelt than he appears in old photos.

Christina Of Denmark

Christina of Denmark was a Danish princess who commanded a lot of attention from possible suitors for her incredible beauty. She was the daughter of King Christian II of Denmark and Isabella of Austria and the sister of King Christian III of Denmark. In paintings, she was typically portrayed as a young woman with a fair complexion, dark brown hair, and dark clothing.

In contrast to her sulky expression on the left, the AI rendition of Christina of Denmark appears to be in better spirits than her 16th-century counterpart. We can see that artificial intelligence updated her hairstyle, eyebrow shape, and makeup look. But her facial features more or less appear to have been carried over.

Julius Caesar

Julius Caesar was a Roman military and political leader who played a critical role in the transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire. He was one of the most influential figures in world history and is remembered as a legendary orator, politician, and military strategist. Usually, he’s depicted as a heroic and powerful figure, usually wearing a toga, with a laurel wreath and a stern expression.

Ai certainly captured Julius Caesar’s supposed stern expression in the modernized version of the military leader. Seeing him in today’s world, we can see that he likely had very sharp facial features and a serious gaze. Despite his somber expression, we can see that artificial intelligence predicts that he would have fairly large ears.

Pharaoh Hatshepsut

Hatshepsut was a female pharaoh who ruled Egypt from 1479 to 1458 BCE. She was said to be a powerful ruler who promoted trade and construction projects, including a famous expedition to the Land of Punt. Her depiction in ancient Egyptian sculpture was of that of a powerful, strong woman wearing a traditional pharaonic headdress and sometimes wearing a false beard. In her later years, her images were often softened and more feminine.

AI predicted that in today’s world, she would be stunningly gorgeous. Her modernized portrait shows her as having extremely symmetrical features, dark brown eyes, and dark brown hair. In ancient Egypt she may have been depicted as having worn a false beard, but her modern-day counterpart certainly has no facial hair.

Unknown Fayum Mummy

The image on the left depicts an unknown sitter from one of the famous Fayum Mummy Portraits, a series of naturalistic painted portraits that were attached to upper-class mummies in Roman Egypt. The faces in the paintings were of the mummified deceased, and give us a rare glimpse into what the ancient Egyptians might have realistically looked.

We can see that AI predicted the face on the left to belong to a young man, possibly even a teenage boy. He has tanned skin, dark eyes, and dark hair, with well-defined eyebrows a straight nose and high cheekbones. While we can’t say for sure whether or not the Ai was accurate, the rendered image definately bears resemblance to the Fayum Mummy Portrait.

Mary, Queen Of Scots

Mary, Queen of Scots was the Queen of Scotland and the Roman Catholic monarch who unsuccessfully claimed the throne of England in the mid-16th century. Her portraits were often monumentalized, showing her in regal garments and a bejeweled crown, but she was often portrayed as a tragic figure, representing the complex political and religious struggles of the time.

The AI rendered image also depicts the Queen of Scots as a red head, just like her portraits of the time portray her to be. A lot of her facial features from the painting have carried over, such as her small mouth and round chin. Rather than depicting the Queen of Scots with tightly coiled her, AI predicted that the modern day Queen would wear her hair in loose curls, instead.

Leonardo Da Vinci

Renaissance polymath Leonardo Da Vinci is known for his iconic paintings such as the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper. But he was more than just an artist, as he was also a seasoned scientist, mathematician, anatomist, engineer, inventor, sculptor, architect, botanist, and musician. In his self portrait from 1512, he appears to be in his mid-fifties, has a long beard, and a stern expression.

Artificial intelligence imagines the renaissance inventor as a white haired man with tanned skin, a prominent nose, and a large forehead. We like that AI rendered Da Vinci as a friendly looking middle-aged man with a smile on his face. Perhaps wisely, AI trimmed his beard a little before bringing him into the 21st century.

Aphrodite

Greek goddess of love and beauty, Aphrodite, as almost always been depicted as a beautiful woman in painting and sculpture. She is often portrayed as having soft, feminine facial features and long, blonde hair. Despite the damage to Aphrodite’s nose on the sculpture on the left, we can see she was depicted as a beautiful woman in sculpture.

Artificial intelligence has rendered a modern-day Aphrodite as, unsurprisingly, a gorgeous woman. It has retained her blonde hair, but interestingly doesn’t show her with long, flowing locks like usual. In this instance, AI believes that modern-day Aphrodite would favor a messily-plaited up-do.

Saint Joseph

According to canonical Gospels, Saint Joseph was the legal father of Jesus and husband to the Virgin Mary. He is considered the patron saint and in art, is often depicted as an elderly man with a long white beard and wearing a robe. In the painting on the left, however, he is depicted a young man with light brown hair and a fair complexion.

AI rendered a modern-day Saint Joseph as a man with moviestar looks. They kept his hair roughly the same length in the rendered portrait, and maintained the patron saint’s open-eyed expression. We think that artificial intelligence did an especially good job when it came to replicating Saint Joseph’s beard.