Historic Figures Reworked Into Trendy-Day Individuals
From the distant past to 2020.
Earlier this year we wrote about Royalty Now, an incredible project in which graphic designer Becca Saladin manipulated historical characters into what they would look like if they were alive today and people couldn’t get enough.
You may recall how Saladin imagined what Abraham Lincoln might look like today:
She envisioned what the Mona Lisa – the subject of Leonardo da Vinci’s famous portrait – might look like in 2020:
And she created this picture of what Julius Caesar might look like as an iPhone-wearing, modern man:
One of the coolest things about this project is how far Saladin goes to make sure their images are as historically accurate as possible. She tries to use only contemporary portraits of the characters (i.e., portraits made during their lifetime) and does meticulous research to find historical records of their physical appearance.
Saladin tells BuzzFeed that since we last visited her, she has taken a “world tour” to shed light on what a new group of historic figures from around the world might look like today.
They modernized the Egyptian queen Hatshepsut, who in 1478 BC. BC rose to the throne and is considered one of the most successful pharaohs in Egyptian history.
It brought the legendary Venezuelan leader Simón Bolívar into 2020, who liberated much of what is now South America from the Spanish Empire in the early 19th century.
And she imagined Pocahontas as a woman of the 21st century.
Saladin – who has nearly a quarter of a million followers on Instagram – says one of the ways she chooses her topics is by asking her followers who to do next. A popular request was from the powerful 19th century South African King Shaka Zulu.
Saladin tells BuzzFeed, “I made a lot of European characters in the beginning because these were the characters I knew best and learned about growing up. The best part about getting new followers was having new characters in history like that to get to know many cultures and cultures to be able to bring them to life. “
Some of these portraits were harder to complete than others. Saladin says, “The challenge in creating certain characters came from the portraits themselves. For example, my portrait of Queen Mother Idia was challenging because it was made from a mask. When I started creating this art, I didn’t think I was ‘I’d ever get good enough at making something out of a mask, but I’ve tried and I’m really happy with the result. “
Her modernization of Mumtaz Mahal – the woman the Taj Mahal was built for – was also challenging as it was based on a very stylized portrait. Saladin says, “I’ve finally figured out how to translate stylization into a more realistic portrait that opens many doors. Many cultures portraying their leaders as a stylized ‘essence’ rather than a photorealistic image presented me with a major challenge. Now that I mean Having improved skills, I can navigate them better. “
Saladin is proud of her new job and believes it is of a higher quality than her previous work. Below she brings Akhenaten – the ancient Egyptian pharaoh who lived around 1353–1336 BC. Reigned – into the modern age.
For the future, Saladin is excited to expand its activities and has worked on new offerings such as bookmark designs, printing and digital downloads. She’s even at TikTok, where she makes videos showing the transformation process.
Take a trip back in time that feels nostalgic AF