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Famous Historical Faces and What They Would Look Like Today Using CGI

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By: Lauren Wurth | Last updated: Jul 14, 2021

Julius Caesar

Few historical figures have the honor of having William Shakespeare write a play about their lives, but that’s just how famous this former Roman dictator is. 

In today’s world, Caesar might have been a tech startup billionaire or a powerful politician, and his sleek, stylish look conveys that vibe.

Queen Elizabeth I

Poor Elizabeth. Her mother was the ill-fated Anne Boleyn who lost her head at the hands of her father, Henry VIII.  

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Her red locks have a beachy wave in the new photo, and she’s streamlined the outfit, making her look like a Hollywood “It Girl” rather than a porcelain doll.

Alexander The Great

Legendary warrior Alexander the Great never lost a battle. At 30, he’d conquered the vast Persian empire and ruled the world from Greece to India. 

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In his updated look, we see a handsome young man with golden curls, and a face reminiscent of a movie star. A cousin of Justin Timberlake’s, perhaps?

Agrippina The Younger

Roman empress Agrippina the Younger’s beauty was matched only by her violence and ruthlessness. She was mother to Nero and helped him gain power at all costs. 

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Her present-day version manages to exude that sense of determination and intensity that Agrippina was known for. Her eyes look right through you. 

Jane Austen

Any fan of historical fiction knows exactly who Jane Austen was. Her novels expertly critiqued and chronicled the British upper class in the 18th century. 

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In the new photo, Jane seems to have let her hair down in a sleek, flowy 2020-esque style. Wonder what she’d write today…gossip blogs?

Anne Boleyn

You’ve already heard about the fate of the unfortunate Anne Boleyn. Accused by the king of treason and adultery, she was found guilty and beheaded. 

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We think that her modern-day makeover makes her look like a legendary beauty of the silver screen – Catherine Zeta-Jones. Do you see it too?

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Mary, Queen Of Scots

Mary reigned over Scotland until an uprising drove her from her throne. Her next move was to attempt to assassinate Queen Elizabeth I and usurp her seat.  

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As a modern woman, she has her flaming red hair, but her locks are free and loose in contrast to the highly decorative style from the 1500s. 

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Empress Elisabeth Of Austria

Elisabeth was born into the royal Bavarian House of Wittelsbach and became the Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary when she married Emperor Franz Joseph I. 

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She’s rocking braids in both images, but her contemporary look is effortlessly messy and wouldn’t look out of place on a fashion runway. 

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Catherine Of Aragon

Catherine’s life is often defined by her role as the first wife of Henry VII’s six marriages, that is, until he created a whole new church just to divorce her. 

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As a present-day woman, she kind of reminds us of Julianne Moore or Evan Rachel Wood on a particularly sad day. 

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Louis XV

When you think of French royalty, you imagine luxury, finery, and excess. Though Louis XV wasn’t the celebrity his grandfather was, he was still the King of France. 

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In a suit and tie, he looks like he might work on Wall Street or in politics. Given his past, we’d suggest the former. 

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Catherine Parr

Yet another of Henry VIII’s many wives, Catherine Parr was the only one who managed to outlive him – barely. She died about a year after he did. 

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Her time-machine makeover has her looking like actress Drew Barrymore with auburn hair, and she’s streamlined her accessories with a statement earring. 

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Marie Antoinette

Perhaps the most famous French royal, Marie Antoinette was known for her love of the finer things in life and her lavish spending habits (while her subjects starved).

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If she lived today, she might have been an heiress, and her new style shows that she’d fit in among the elites. 

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The Grand Duchess Anastasia Romanov

The daughter of Tsar Nicholas II, Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna saw her father’s rule violently overthrown and her family perish at the hands of the Bolsheviks. 

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People still speculate that she might have escaped, but it is unlikely. If she’d lived today, she’d be a doppelganger of actress Millie Bobby Brown. 

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Emperor Augustus

Augustus is probably the third most famous Caesar, behind Julius (his great-uncle) and, of course, salad. He reigned from 27 BC to 14 AD. 

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As a modern man, he sort of looks like Chris Martin from Coldplay. Wonder what type of music Augustus would play if he had a band?

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Nefertiti

Queen Nefertiti of Egypt was known for her legendary beauty as well as being the wife of the Pharoah Akhenaten. Her name means “The beautiful woman has come.”

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The modern-day portrait maintains the same striking features seen in the bust, like a sharp jawline and deep-set almond eyes – but adds a fresh hairdo.

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Queen Isabella Of Castile

Queen Isabella was half of the couple who financed Columbus’s monumental voyage to find a route to India.  She and her husband Ferdinand ruled Spain.

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As a noblewoman, Isabella was highly cultured and educated. Does her new portrait give off “art curator” or “food critic” vibes, or is that just us?

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Abraham Lincoln

Good Ol’ honest Abe is a lot of folks’ favorite president. Whether it was his abolition of slavery or simply his inspriring speeches, his legacy has lived far beyond him. 

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Though he was known to joke about his looks, he does seem surprisingly dashing in a modern suit and tie. 

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Mona Lisa

Ah, Signorina Mona Lisa. Hers may be the most famous female face of all time, with her contemplative eyes and knowing half-smile.  

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Even as a modern beauty, she has the same mysterious air about her. We can’t help but be reminded of Rumer Willis, Bruce Willis’s daughter…it’s in the eyes. 

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Christina Of Denmark

A proposition of marriage from a king sounds pretty tempting…unless that king is Henry VII. Chistina instead married Francis, Duke of Bar, who had never beheaded any of his exes.

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She still has the same determined-looking face in the made-over photo, but her style is more like a model’s. 

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Madame Du Barry

Jeanne Bécu, who was called Comtesse du Barry when she became the mistress to Louis XV, was known to have beautiful golden hair and blue eyes.

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Her looks served her in life, taking her from the convent to the palace. With updated makeup and hair, she could easily be a top model 

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Eleanor Of Toledo

Eleanor of Toledo, a Spanish noblewoman, is credited with being the first “first lady.” She was a businesswoman and even ruled in her husband’s place at times. 

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She was undoubtedly a fiercely independent woman. In the image of her as a modern woman, she might be a hotshot lawyer or politician. 

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Katherine Howard

Katherine Howard was the fifth of Henry VIII’s doomed wives, and the second he had beheaded. She was only 16 when we married him and 18 when she met her demise.

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She looks like she would be friends with Game of Thrones actress Sophie Turner if she’d been around today. 

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Caligula

History does not remember Caligula’s reign as emperor of Rome fondly. He was known to be sadistic and cruel, and used his power to increase his own wealth and status. 

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We can see his personality come through even in the newer picture. His expression seems haughty and a bit disdainful. 

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Napoleon

We’ve all heard stories about how Napoleon was extremely sensitive about his height. In reality, he was about average height for nobility at the time. 

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With a fresh makeover, he looks extraordinarily like director Quentin Tarantino. We can totally see him applying his battle strategies to movie making. 

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Grace Kelly

Grace Kelly was the embodiment of elegance and beauty. The actress even managed to win the heart of royalty, becoming the Princess of Monaco. 

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If she’d been a modern day princess, she would have fit in with the likes of other “commoners” who married royals – Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle. 

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Botticelli's Venus

Sandro Botticelli’s vibrant depiction of the birth of the goddess Venus embodies all the romance and beauty that the deity herself is known for. 

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Her elegant, feminine features transfer well to her contemporary re-imagining. We have to wonder, what would an ancient goddess think of our world today? 

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Prince Albert

Albert was the cousin and Prince Consort to the often “unamused” Queen Victoria of England. He was her husband, her friend, and her confidant, as well as father to their nine children. 

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He sounds like a pretty decent guy. He’s rocking kind of a hipster look in the newer version.

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Genghis Khan

Our would wouldn’t be the same today if Ghenghis Khan hadn’t ruled the Mongol empire. Some say he’s a direct ancestor of .5% of the world’s males.

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This prolific and powerful leader might’ve been a businessman or powerful politician in our modern age. He appears quite distinguished.

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Cleopatra VII

Since the images we have of Cleopatra were created after her death, it’s hard to know what she would look like today. 

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As an Egyptian queen, she most likely wore lavish gold accessories and had dark hair and features. The artist has gone for a simpler look, but she still seems regal.

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Benjamin Franklin

Inventor, scientist, and founding father – Benjamin Franklin was truly a formidable figure in early American history.  

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With a short, modern haircut and a classy suit and tie, he could definitely pass for a tech CEO or a wealthy philanthropist. If he were here today, what would he think of the internet?

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Jane Seymour

As far as Henry VIII’s wives go, Jane Seymour didn’t exactly draw the shortest straw. She was the only one to give birth to a male heir, but sadly, didn’t survive the delivery. 

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She was known for her strict, proper ways, and her face clearly shows that in both photos. 

 

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Henry VIII

If you hadn’t heard of Henry VIII and his six wives, you certainly know about them now. We know he was an impulsive man who got what he wanted, regardless of the consequences. 

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In both his official portrait and the re-worked one, his eyes betray a certain cruelty that his wives surely felt.  

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King Henry VII

Unlike his son, who was famous for having 6 wives and mistreating them all, King Henry VII is remembered for building a successful and stable economy. 

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He does have a much kinder look to him than his infamous son. He looks a lot like British actor Benedict Cumberbatch, doesn’t he? 

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Anne of Cleves

Anne Cleves had the…um, honor of being Henry VIII’s fourth wife, but never actually became queen consort, as their marriage was annulled after 6 months. 

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While not ideal at the time, we think Anne of Cleves probably ended up being the most fortunate of the six wives. 

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King Tutankhamun

We don’t have many photorealistic images of the Pharaoh Tutankhamun, but we do know he was very young when he took the throne. 

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He’s depicted here around age 19, which is when he died. He has tan skin and dark eyes, which would be accurate for an ancient Egyptian.  

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Elizabeth Taylor

Iconic silver screen beauty Liz Taylor was known for her acting skills and striking beauty. She is one of the few born with violet eyes!

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In the 2020s, she’d definitely still have a flair for the dramatic with her fashion and makeup. It figures she’d go for a bold lip color.

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Ingrid Bergman

Here’s looking at Ingrid Bergman! The stunning swede was cast in Casablanca beside Humphrey Bogart, and they made film history as Rick and Ilsa. 

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Her timeless beauty and unparalleled acting skills would have made her a huge success, even in today’s Hollywood. We can see her cleaning up come awards season!

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Wallis Simpson

Not everybody knows who Wallis Simpson was, but without her, the world would be very different. King Edward VIII loved her so much, he abdicated his throne to marry her. 

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That’s quite the romantic gesture. People will do some crazy things for love, and they say for true love, it’s worth it.

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Mary I

Mary I was known by many names: Mary Tudor, Queen of England, and “Bloody Mary.” She earned that nickname by having hundreds of her religious opponents burned at the stake.

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Her face does have a formidable look to it. We definitely wouldn’t want to cross her in this century or any other. 

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Elizabeth Woodville

Elizabeth Woodville wasn’t born to an especially powerful family, but she brought her entire family up with her when she married King Edward IV. 

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She was known to be extraordinarily beautiful and was sometimes called “The White Queen. You can easily see why the king was beguiled by her. 

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Meritamun

Meritamun was an Egyptian royal, also called the Great Royal Wife of Pharaoh Ramesses II, and was one of ancient Egypt’s most powerful women.

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Short History/Sculpture Jennifer Mann

Through advanced reconstructive technology and scans of her remains, scientists managed to piece together an image of what this famous queen may have looked like. 

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Robert the Bruce

Robert the Bruce was a Scottish king who was famous for leading the first Scottish War of Independence against England. 

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The parts of his skull used to make the recreation showed damage – perhaps from a disease like leprosy, so they made 2 versions of what he may have looked like. 

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Johann Sebastian Bach

Bach was one of the world’s greatest composers, but he lived in a time before photographs and video, so all we have are various paintings of his likeness. 

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The reconstruction makes him look like he could be someone’s friendly uncle, with a jolly round face and kind eyes.

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Giovanni Battista Sidotti

Giovanni Battista Sidotti was so dedicated to spreading the Catholic faith in Japan that he snuck across the border illegally and disguised himself as a samurai. 

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In the reconstruction, his hair and clothes are Japanese, but his face is clearly that of an Italian. It’s no wonder he got caught.

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Lady of Cao

In 2006, a group of anthropologists discovered the richly decorated mummy of an ancient Peruvian highborn woman. They called her the Lady of Cao.

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Her tattoos and the artifacts found in her tomb suggest a position of high honor, like a priestess or a ruler from the ancient Moche tribe.

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Maximilien de Robespierre

An integral figure in the French Revolution, Robespierre spoke out fiercely for the rights of the common man. 

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His main goal was to unite France and establish a democracy that represented all of its people, not just the super-wealthy. He may not have been handsome, but he was certainly admirable.

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William Shakespeare

We know the bard’s words quite well, but the face behind his famous plays is a bit more of a mystery. He’s almost always shown with a very particular goatee.

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The reconstructed image shows him as he’s rarely seen – as an older man, with graying hair and wrinkles. 

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George Washington

Whether you call him the first president, the father of our country, or the legendary military general, it’s clear that Washington had a lot to do with the building of America.

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He had a strong jaw and a focused stare. You can imagine him looking across a battleground and strategizing the next move. 

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Ava

Ava is a nickname for Achavanich, which was the name given to the remains of a young woman found in Caithness, Scotland. She lived over 3,700 years ago. 

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The face created using CGI technology and scans of her skull is surprisingly familiar. She wouldn’t be out of place today. 

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