The Dutch photographer and digital artist Bas Uterwijk uses Artificial Intelligence to create hyper-realistic representations of famous historical figures. Uterwijk’s portraits are created through innovative neural network reconstructions-meaning that he uses AI technology to create incredibly realistic images. This isn’t the first time he’s used this technique; his previous work also involved reconstructing images of historical figures. However, his most recent series takes things a step further by transporting viewers to ancient Egypt, the Renaissance, and 18th-century Europe, among other time periods.
To produce these portraits, Uterwijk provides several images of the individual’s appearance to the AI program called artbreeder. This AI program detects typical facial features and qualities in paintings and statues and creates a series of pictures. The program provides a variety of possibilities for the artist to select from, after which he fine-adjusts the program until he is satisfied with the result. “These ‘Deep Learning’ networks are trained with thousands of photographs of human faces and are able to create near-photorealistic people from scratch or fit uploaded faces in a ‘Latent Space’ of a total of everything the model has learned,” explain Uterwijk.
He applies his digital editing to famous works of art including Michelangelo’s David sculpture and Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa painting, as well as real-life royals such as Tutankhamun and Elizabeth I. The Queen of England is depicted in many paintings, and her face was painted so frequently that it’s unlikely there’d be a Photoshop hoax. He told yahoo news that while there were numerous portraits of the queen, he chose to upload 10 distinct images before constructing what he thinks is a realistic image based on an average.
The result of a talented artist and AI technology is something that looks like it could have been made by a modern camera and twist the image of historical figures to a new level!