Guy Uses Modern Software To Restore The Faces Of Julius Caesar And 23 Other People From Ancient History Interview With Artist
For many of us, history used to be a bit of a boring topic in school. But, over the years, it has become clear that it wasn’t the topic itself, but the way it was presented—it just didn’t appeal to the younger audience.
Now, if someone was to show the 10-year-old me pictures of reconstructed faces of famous people from antiquity, which were restored using the miracle of modern technology, then I would have been much more interested in studying the past!
Speaking of which, Alessandro Tomasi is doing that exact thing—reconstructing the faces of famous people from ancient times, and so far, he’s done quite a few of them!
Bored Panda got in touch with Tomasi for an interview, which you can find below, along with a list of Tomasi’s realistic reconstructions. And hey, while you’re down there, why not vote and comment on the ones you like the most!
Greek Historian Herodotus
So, Alessandro Tomasi is a 20-year-old Italian-Lebanese artist and student from Florence, Italy who has recently started reconstructing the faces of historical figures of the distant past.
By reconstructing, we mean that he has practically taken a bust of said historical figure and did some technical wizardry to make them look like real people.
He has so far done a number of historical personas, like Plato, Aristotle, Socrates, Homer, Cleopatra, Hannibal Barca, Emperor Elegabalus, Septimus Severus, Herodotus, and many others.
When asked how he came up with the idea to start reconstructing faces of historical figures, he explained that he has always been interested in history—Greco-Roman and Phoenician history, in particular—and that he launched this little facial reconstruction project after seeing others do it online:
“I decided to start doing these reconstructions after coming across other reconstructions on the internet, which have obviously been done by people with absolutely no knowledge about genetics or history. Other than the fact that it is very interesting for me to bring busts to life, the main reason I started making them is basically a response to the other historically inaccurate ones I saw.”
Tomasi explained that he uses two bits of software for the face reconstruction: Photoshop and Artbreeder. Photoshop is (probably) self-explanatory, but Artbreeder is an online tool that makes use of machine learning to control and manipulate portraits. In Tomasi’s case, Artbreeder is used to create the base, while the rest of it (the majority) is work with Photoshop.
“Now, the most important part, the way I choose the color of the skin, eye color, etc. is by reading population genetics studies and trying my best to relate them to the genealogy of the historical figure I am reconstructing the face of,” elaborated Tomasi.
He continued: “I also refer to physical descriptions of the figures I am working on, written by ancient historians like Suetonius and Pliny the Elder. However, it is important to keep in mind that many of the descriptions in these ancient texts aren't necessarily reliable as many were not written contemporarily to the persons they were describing.”
“Also, we have to remember that most statues did not appear as we see them now, as they were originally colored and as a result, some traces of the colors and pigmentations can still be traced, which also helps as a reference, but in most cases, it is not possible to use this method as a reference.”
Greek Stoic Philosopher Chrysippus Of Soli
Greek Philosopher Antisthenes
As is common with art, facial reconstruction doesn’t come easy. And it’s not just the meticulous work regarding the study of all the genealogies and genetics, as explained Tomasi:
“I would say the biggest challenge is trying to find the right bust to work from. I always try to find busts made during the lifetime of the person I am reconstructing the face of when I can, to be as accurate as possible.”
So far, Hannibal Barca is Tomasi’s favorite project as it was extremely interesting for him to bring such a fascinating historical figure back to life, though he also said that he really likes how Cicero turned out too.
If all of this looks familiar to you, Bored Panda featured another article where Becca Saladin recreated historical figures into what they would look like today. And if that’s not enough, we also did another article about how this one depixelizing AI tool was supposed to upscale low-res photos, but ended up creating some of the creepiest faces ever.
Oh, and don’t forget to tune in for more reconstructions on Tomasi’s Twitter!
But before you go, why not let us know what you thought about this in the comment section below! Are there any faces that you’d like to see recreated in this fashion?