One and a half year back, it dawned on Texas-based graphic designer Becca Saladin that historic portraits look so stiff, despite the subject having an excellent track-record of adventurous deeds in the lifetime. Think of Cleopatra’s status and the look we’re used to seeing!
Since then, Saladin has not stopped recreating major historic characters including Hatshepsut- the powerful Egyptian queen, Queen Elizabeth, and Abraham Lincoln into the 21st-century renditions. Her amazing photoshop skills and her love for history infuse the unmissable makeover.
Her rendition of English Queen Anne Boleyn (see below) was her first creation. And the artist tells us, her best work is of the Queen-mother Idia, because “recreating from a wooden mask was not easy!”
Today, her Instagram with 221k followers is a verified account. And as soon as you land on her profile, British, American, African Royalties and famous historic faces like Jane Austen will be there to greet you.
“I’ve always been really into both art and history – I work full time as a graphic designer,” Saladar says to WeTheWorld Magazine in a candid conversation. “So I’d seen some statue recreations online and always found them really interesting.”
Here’s the amazing job Becca Saladar does with major historic characters, by giving them the much needed contemporary makeover
“I wanted to try it with painting since I’d always wondered what people from paintings would actually look like. I feel like the portraits always look so stiff and never do the subject justice,” the artist feels.
Becca figured out that the best way to “bring them to life” would be to make modern-day renditions, which would help her relate to them more. “I started the Instagram account for the art about a year and a half ago and just haven’t stopped making them!”
#1. Queen Nefertiti
Queen Nefertiti was the wife of Pharoah Akhenaten, who famously tried to change the Egyptian society into a Monotheistic one, from Polytheistic.
#2. Abraham Lincoln
The 16th president of the United States from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865, Abraham Lincoln led the nation through its bloodiest and morally critical wars- the American Civil War.
#3. Agrippina the Younger
Sister of the infamous Roman Emperor Caligula, she too was a ruthless ruler.
Roman Emperor Caligula, often called one of Rome’s cruelest rulers. He was the brother to Agrippina the Younger. See the resemblance in their face?
#5. Princess of Monaco, Grace kelly
Grace Kelly was an American actor as well as the Princess of Monaco.
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#6. Alexander the Great
Becca Saladine explains on Instagram how after recreating Alexander the Great, he looks like an “a modern-day member Harvard Crew team.” Becca bought the striking look after noting that the great emperor had curly brown hair and heterochromia (one eye blue and one eye brown or a combo of both) from the archives.
#7. Ingrid Bergman
“Not exactly royalty….but definitely Hollywood royalty. Academy award winning actress Ingrid Bergman,” the artist writes describing the striking rendition of the American legend.
#8. Genghis Khan
History is perhaps incomplete without the Mongol Emperor Genghis Khan. This particular portrait is the only one to have been commissioned by his grandson Khubilai Khan who knew how he looked. Back in time, there used to be scanty descriptions about the characters. Saladin says “there are differing descriptions on what his (Genghis Khan’s) coloring was. Some claimed he had red hair and green eyes, others claimed he had features very similar to East Asian populations today. I have to admit – this one challenged me and stretched my skills.”
Who doesn’t know here? By far one of the most well-known Egyptian Royalties. Cleopatra was a highly-skilled administrator, could speak several languages, used to be witty and she was reportedly very intelligent. “I chose this bust because most of the depictions of her include common features – a strong nose, full lips, and small chin,” Saladin writes.
#10. Anne Boleyn
Anne Boleyn is our artist’s favourite. Anne Boleyn was Queen of England from 1533 to 1536 and the second wife of King Henry VIII. “…one of my favorite ghost stories is the story of Anne appearing underneath the great oak tree at Hever Castle, her childhood home, every Christmas day,” Saladin writes on Instagram about Anna.
Describing this rendition of Idia, the ruler of Oba of Benin from 1504-1540, now modern-day Nigeria, Saladin says WeTheWorld Magazine this was her most challenging task. Since the original portrait is made of wood, it is certainly not easy to bring-out a realistic note of face. But look, how masterfully she’s done it.
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#12. Jane Austen
Famed British writer Jane Austen has enticed readers for generations. Her wit was full of dignity and grace, and despite coming from a time when England did not have female authors in the mainstream, she kept pursuing her career as a writer till the end of her life, at times even under a pseudonym – A lady. She was a feminist, and boldly so, at a time when the term was relatively unknown.
#13. Benjamin Franklin
One of the founding fathers of the United States of America.
#14. Mona Lisa
This Leonardo Da Vinci painting is one of the most recognised faces in the world. One who’ll not know any painting, will surely know who this intriguing lady is. She might not be a Royalty, but her fame trespasses that of many Royalties.
#15. Emperor Augustus
Emperor Augustus was born as Octavius, was the great-nephew of Julius Caesar. He was the first emperor of Rome, ending 500 years of the republic. Like many other Roman emperors, he too was smart and ruthless.
#16. Eleanor of Toledo
Smart and intelligent Eleanor of Toledo was originally from Toledo, Spain. She was the bride of a famous member of the Medici Family, Cosimo I de Medici.
#17. King Tutankhamun
Like Cleopatra, King Tut is one of the most well-known Egyptian royalties. “This recreation of King Tut has long been my favorite, and was created in 2005 when 2 teams were tasked with recreating what King Tut may have looked like,” our artist Becca writes on Instagram, describing the amazing creation.
“It shows some of the features that may have been the result of inbreeding, such as the overbite and weak chin,” Becca says, giving the majority of the credit for this work to her idol, paleoartist and hyperrealistic creator Elisabeth Daynes. Undoubtedly this is incredible.
#18. Napoleon Bonaparte
Napoleon Bonaparte was the famous French Statesman who rose to prominence during the French Revolutionary Wars. Despite his 5’7 inch height, he was said to be short in terms of the great accomplishments he made.
#19. Simón Bolívar
Simón Bolívar was a South American soldier and a key factor that lead the nation’s war against the Spanish Empire. The “Republic of Bolivia” was created on his honour. He was known as El Libertador (The Liberator) by many.
#20. Queen Elizabeth
This is Queen Elizabeth, the Empress of England. Her face looks white as snow due to the pigment used in her time for makeup. It is said, it took hours daily to make the queen up to her statement-look. From head to toe, she’d be bejeweled and clad in decorations. But look just how beautiful she looks in her simple modern look? Agree?
#21. Queen Victoria
Victoria was the Queen of England at the heights of British power. The English influence was so widespread at her time, it is said that Britain was a land where the sun never set, referring to the enormous geographic expansion the nation achieved, literally putting their flag on every part of the world. She was also the Empress of India. Her era was famously called the Victorian era which was her rule for 63 years and seven months.
Bonus: her next work is dropping in soon on her social media and giving us hints, she said “there’s a hit show on Hulu about the next subject right now 😉”
So, this was it, an educational as well as a recreational journey from back in time. Thanks to Becca Saladin. Already a fan just like us? Show her love on her social media. Become her esteemed patron at Patreon.com and get perks ahead o others. Don’t forget to share this story and appreciate her artwork. Also do let us know your favorite in the comments below.
WeTheWorld Magazine obtained permission to feature the images.