People of status always dominated in portraits, not only because of their elevated social rank but also because it cost a fortune to commission a painting. Nowadays, however, there are millions of cheaper and faster ways to immortalize one's image, making portrait paintings a somewhat unnecessary medium. Just like the medium, the subjects of portraits have also changed: royalty and nobles don't have as much importance as they used to have, and they've slowly been exchanged for a modern version of people of status — celebrities. Instagram artist Kyès digitally recreates classical paintings by substituting people that were important back in the day with people who are considered to be important in pop culture nowadays. In short, this substitution works, probably because the classical painting style subconsciously elevates the subject of the painting onto a higher plane than just simply mundane. A modern analogy would be a "star," which also signifies this sort of specialness. In other words, classical paintings and celebrities are a match made in heaven. Check it out and judge for yourselves!

More info: Instagram

#1

Snoop Dogg

Snoop Dogg

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Georgia Hebert
Community Member
9 months ago

I like it.

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In these paintings, the artist portrays some of the most popular figures that are well-known to most of the world. There are portraits of superstars like Madonna, Rihanna, Billie Eilish, Mick Jagger, among others, and it could be argued that they're much more popular than the nobles in famous paintings. However, Kyès doesn't only focus on them. Among some of these portraits are talented and up-and-coming hip hop artists, rappers, and actors. Kyès also showcases some lesser-known musicians and actors, most of whom enjoy popularity in French-speaking countries.

#2

Johnny Depp

Johnny Depp

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Brihat A.
Community Member
9 months ago

this is legit so perfect jhonny be rollin

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#3

Madonna

Madonna

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Monty Is Fiennes
Community Member
9 months ago

Reminds me of the good ole days....

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These paintings are described as classical, but the word classical often gets tossed around, and it might mean anything from "widely accepted" to "historically significant," and anything in between. The term classicism, which refers to classical art and culture, in its purest form is an aesthetic attitude based on cultural principles of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, which emphasizes simplicity, form, proportion, structure, clarity, and mostly appeals to the intellect. In Western culture, people have always tried to emulate this classical style, but it came into prominence after the Renaissance, which was viewed as the rebirth of the classical age. 

#4

Hayao Miyazaki

Hayao Miyazaki

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Queen Mab
Community Member
9 months ago

This is thr best.

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#5

Rihanna

Rihanna

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Anita Pickle
Community Member
9 months ago

I love this one! She is so beautiful.

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Though Kyès is one of the more mysterious artists out there on Instagram, there are a few interesting revelations about them. The digital artist has an alternative account where one can find cute children's illustrations. Also, the artist seems to love calligraphy and has done some really cool type works. Overall, the artist has over 60k followers on Instagram, but wouldn't mind getting some more, so follow them if you like their work and support the artist!

#6

Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix

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Eppe
Community Member
9 months ago

He would rock that violin. Maybe not smash it though.

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#7

Queen Latifah

Queen Latifah

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Norma
Community Member
9 months ago

Ah, that knowing smile! Love it!

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If you loved this post about celebrities and characters in classical art, Bored Panda has much more similar stuff to offer. If you love classical art, you'll probably love classical art memes (2) too! If you love how artists try to interpret these paintings, you'll probably like how Carlos Gromo recreated them in Disney style, or how this woman recreates classical paintings on her own. And if you liked this post because of the celebrities, we have good news for you: the stars aren't as inaccessible as their title might suggest, and here's a post about how regular people meet celebrities.

#8

Mark Hamill

Mark Hamill

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Lucky
Community Member
9 months ago

"Eleventh Baronet" - I love it!

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#9

Carrie Fisher

Carrie Fisher

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Georgia Hebert
Community Member
9 months ago

Yeeeesssss...

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#10

Mick Jagger

Mick Jagger

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Monty Is Fiennes
Community Member
9 months ago

Dutch classic...

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#11

Björk

Björk

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Mark Berry
Community Member
9 months ago

Such an imp!

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#12

Forest Whitaker

Forest Whitaker

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Anita Pickle
Community Member
9 months ago

I would have liked to see him dressed up more. This is still really great though.

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#13

Katy Perry

Katy Perry

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Norma
Community Member
9 months ago

Gorgeous!

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#14

Eminem

Eminem

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Peg luvz Al
Community Member
9 months ago

The holy hand grenade of Antioch.

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#15

Debbie Harry

Debbie Harry

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Norma
Community Member
9 months ago

Perfect!

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#16

Ice Cube

Ice Cube

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Sam rice
Community Member
9 months ago

That look

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#17

Sean Connery

Sean Connery

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Norma
Community Member
9 months ago

What a beautiful man...

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#18

Adele

Adele

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Chillchillshill
Community Member
9 months ago

Adele. Everyone went gaga about her song, but poor Lionel Ritchie was like... Hello?

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#19

Sade

Sade

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Ahimsa Santhosh
Community Member
9 months ago

This is perfect 😍

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#20

Billie Eilish

Billie Eilish

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BrookieTheWookie
Community Member
9 months ago

She looks good

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#21

Donald Glover (Childish Gambino)

Donald Glover (Childish Gambino)

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Queen fhk
Community Member
9 months ago

Wow .Mon point

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#22

Amy Winehouse

Amy Winehouse

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Linda McGuigan
Community Member
9 months ago

R.I.P. taken to soon club 27 )0(

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#23

Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson

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Norma
Community Member
9 months ago

What a charmer he was...

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#24

Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain

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California Jones
Community Member
9 months ago

RIP legend

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#25

Daft Punk

Daft Punk

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Queen fhk
Community Member
9 months ago

Daft pink knights

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#26

Erykah Badu

Erykah Badu

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Anita Pickle
Community Member
9 months ago

I love the styling on this

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#27

André 3000

André 3000

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Never Stop Twinkling™
Community Member
9 months ago

🎵 So Fresh, So Clean~~ 🎵

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#28

Al Pacino (Tony Montana)

Al Pacino (Tony Montana)

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Norma
Community Member
9 months ago

Tony! Love ya!!

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#29

Anya Taylor-Joy

Anya Taylor-Joy

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Vicky Z
Community Member
9 months ago (edited)

She has the perfect face for these paintings! She really looks like she is coming from a different century!!

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#30

Jay-Z & Beyonce

Jay-Z & Beyonce

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Josie Bisbano
Community Member
9 months ago

Lamp looks sus.

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Note: this post originally had 100 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.