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Thread: Photo-real portraits of Roman emperors

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    Thumbs up Photo-real portraits of Roman emperors



    Using the neural-net tool Artbreeder, Photoshop and historical references, Daniel Voshart have created photoreal portraits of Roman Emperors. For this project, I have transformed, or restored (cracks, noses, ears etc.) 800 images of busts to make the 54 emperors of The Principate (27 BC to 285 AD). He posted about it on Medium and explained in detail how he recreated the face of each emperor one by one. The realism is absolutely amazing!






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    Amazing work! Very realistic features and hair and eye colors. Really life-like. I just wondered if some of them were really as darker-skinned as he depicted them, some also have a brownish skin tone that I don't think is very realistic, I mean, it's a sort of pale grey-ish brown that you just don't see (usually) in Mediterranean people nor in Near Eastern and North African people, who even when very tanned or even brown-skinned have more "reddish" or bronze-like tones, not that kind of pale grey-ish brown of his depiction of Numerian (for example). I'd also like to know why he depicted Numerians' father Carus so dark when he was probably from Gaul, along with some other emperors. Is there any evidence that they had ancestry from other parts of the empire?

    Btw did Hostilian (what a name...) really have such Hollywood looks?

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    Is it just my impression, but did they make Augustus look like James Bond (Daniel Craig)?

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    ... imho:


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    Interesting comments made by the artist on his twitter page.

    Turns out he wasn't trying to make Augustus blonde, but rather dirty-blonde leaning towards brown. He was actually trying to gray his hair due to his age, but the filter he used made it look blonder than it was supposed to be:

    Some of the confusion may stem from the fact that I aged the busts in an effort not to romanticize history. I grayed Augustus' hair.The mosaic filter may have made it look blond by blending the pixels. Dirty-blond leaning brown with blue eyes. That was my goal.

    https://twitter.com/dvoshart/status/1288465640966291462
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ygorcs View Post
    Amazing work! Very realistic features and hair and eye colors. Really life-like. I just wondered if some of them were really as darker-skinned as he depicted them, some also have a brownish skin tone that I don't think is very realistic, I mean, it's a sort of pale grey-ish brown that you just don't see (usually) in Mediterranean people nor in Near Eastern and North African people, who even when very tanned or even brown-skinned have more "reddish" or bronze-like tones, not that kind of pale grey-ish brown of his depiction of Numerian (for example). I'd also like to know why he depicted Numerians' father Carus so dark when he was probably from Gaul, along with some other emperors. Is there any evidence that they had ancestry from other parts of the empire?

    Btw did Hostilian (what a name...) really have such Hollywood looks?

    Believe it or not there will be no shortage of people that will complain about the photo- real portraits depicting Romans as Anglo-Saxon-like instead of proper olive -skinned Mediterraneans.

    Many insist that ancient Romans looked like the very swarthy Italo- Americans from the Mafia movies and that real Italians are never pale-rosy pink skinned people. So probably the artist who made these portraits didn't want them to appear too pale. However, I think the creation of the photo-real reconstruction is very nicely done. Besides, the ethnic Roman emperors on the portraits are very Italian looking.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Salento View Post
    Is it just my impression, but did they make Augustus look like James Bond (Daniel Craig)?
    Well, I ALWAYS thought Daniel Craig looked like some Roman busts (probably I even thought so because I had the busts of Augustus in mind subconsciously). lol

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    Quote Originally Posted by Salento View Post
    ... imho:

    In my opinion that is based on how Sueton described Augustus, he had most likely sandy blond hair. Hence, this hair color is a bit too dark.

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    Quote Originally Posted by real expert View Post
    In my opinion that is based on how Sueton described Augustus, he had most likely sandy blond hair. Hence, this hair color is a bit too dark.
    Suetonius never met Augustus!

    ... older:




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    Is it just me, or does Nero have an incredibly punchable face?

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    Here is Augustus' haircolor according to the retored version of his painted statue. It looks like a light brown to me:


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    Quote Originally Posted by real expert View Post
    Believe it or not there will be no shortage of people that will complain about the photo- real portraits depicting Romans as Anglo-Saxon-like instead of proper olive -skinned Mediterraneans.

    Many insist that ancient Romans looked like the very swarthy Italo- Americans from the Mafia movies and that real Italians are never pale-rosy pink skinned people. So probably the artist who made these portraits didn't want them to appear too pale. However, I think the creation of the photo-real reconstruction is very nicely done. Besides, the ethnic Roman emperors on the portraits are very Italian looking.
    Italians are heterogenous in terms of phenotype, even those from the same region, and even family. My brother looks different from me, and my sisters. But genetically, we are the same. Ironically, he is the most "northern", yet is the darkest. But so are many other groups, example of two brothers that look different:

    Donald Trump Jr. has more of a "Roman" look, compared to Eric:


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    Quote Originally Posted by Jovialis View Post
    Here is Augustus' haircolor according to the retored version of his painted statue. It looks like a light brown to me:

    My hair color, back when I had longer hair. It looks darker when it is shorter. Either that, or the genes switched off, I was 19 in this photo, and haven't had long hair since.


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    I have felt identified with Dacio or Decio when enlarging the photo it is blurred. I'll see who it is.


    That of different skin tones does not mean anything to me in any sense but well I see that in more modern or multiracial countries that take it very up to date or give it more importance, here it is difficult to fit and export.

    If everyone had the same skin tone it would be weird and abnormal, I would suspect them, mmmm

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jovialis View Post
    Italians are heterogenous in terms of phenotype, even those from the same region, and even family. My brother looks different from me, and my sisters. But genetically, we are the same. Ironically, he is the most "northern", yet is the darkest. But so are many other groups, example of two brothers that look different:

    Donald Trump Jr. has more of a "Roman" look, compared to Eric:

    That is true indeed, though I think this is true in every family except extremely endogamous ones. I look a lot like my Italian father actually, even though my head-shape is longer and more similar to his father and he's a bit darker than me. My other full Italian half siblings look much more like their mom actually and usually people would think I'm fully Italian even though I'm half Dutch.

    By the way these two guys look German.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jovialis View Post
    Here is Augustus' haircolor according to the retored version of his painted statue. It looks like a light brown to me:

    Going by Pompeii's depictions of Roman men, they were much darker in complexion than their women

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jovialis View Post
    Interesting comments made by the artist on his twitter page.

    Turns out he wasn't trying to make Augustus blonde, but rather dirty-blonde leaning towards brown. He was actually trying to gray his hair due to his age, but the filter he used made it look blonder than it was supposed to be:
    Augustus looks Italian imho.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maciamo View Post
    Using the neural-net tool Artbreeder, Photoshop and historical references, Daniel Voshart have created photoreal portraits of Roman Emperors. For this project, I have transformed, or restored (cracks, noses, ears etc.) 800 images of busts to make the 54 emperors of The Principate (27 BC to 285 AD). He posted about it on Medium and explained in detail how he recreated the face of each emperor one by one. The realism is absolutely amazing!







    This one is very badly done. He looks more British now instead of Italian. Especially the mouth region is off as well as the eyes and ears.

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    Appreciable attempt and rather realistic results in my opinion. You can see very current and common "Italian" faces among the ranks. Especially between Claudius and Nerva there are physiognomic traits found especially in central/northern Italy, from internal Lazio to go back to Umbria, Marche and Tuscany up to Romagna

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stuvanè View Post
    Appreciable attempt and rather realistic results in my opinion. You can see very current and common "Italian" faces among the ranks. Especially between Claudius and Nerva there are physiognomic traits found especially in central/northern Italy, from internal Lazio to go back to Umbria, Marche and Tuscany up to Romagna
    I recognized that stretch of the emperors too; the remains of the heartland, perhaps. :)

    There's definitely something subjective about what's going on. There's nothing written about the coloring of the hair of some of them, so I don't know why he chose to make them blonde. Also don't know how Vespasian, having seen numerous busts of him, turned out looking a bit too much like our American president LBJ. :)

    Also, why on earth would he make Marcus Aurelius look admixed with Moor or something? Just because he was born in Spain? He came from a family of colonists; even if he had a bit of Spanish admixture he wouldn't turn out looking like that.

    Part of it, perhaps, is the very nature of a program which "averages" the features. You're going to get a very "neutral", bland, not necessarily "real" look. When they average out the faces of Europeans by region you can barely tell them apart minus some of the East Europeans.

    Still, generally on the right track I think, and fun to look at...


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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    I recognized that stretch of the emperors too; the remains of the heartland, perhaps. :)

    There's definitely something subjective about what's going on. There's nothing written about the coloring of the hair of some of them, so I don't know why he chose to make them blonde. Also don't know how Vespasian, having seen numerous busts of him, turned out looking a bit too much like our American president LBJ. :)

    Also, why on earth would he make Marcus Aurelius look admixed with Moor or something? Just because he was born in Spain? He came from a family of colonists; even if he had a bit of Spanish admixture he wouldn't turn out looking like that.

    Part of it, perhaps, is the very nature of a program which "averages" the features. You're going to get a very "neutral", bland, not necessarily "real" look. When they average out the faces of Europeans by region you can barely tell them apart minus some of the East Europeans.

    Still, generally on the right track I think, and fun to look at...
    You're right Angela.
    In some examples the result is somewhat questionable. I agree on Marcus Aurelius or Adrianus, which have become really too exotic. (But I believe for the same reasons that the emperors whose Italic ancestry is known become automatically blond and pink in complexion...).


    It's difficult to get rid of certain stereotypes :)

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    https://es.euronews.com/2019/07/19/d...romano-adriano

    Found a bust of Emperor Adriano very close to where he was born (Contains video)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jovialis View Post
    Italians are heterogenous in terms of phenotype, even those from the same region, and even family. My brother looks different from me, and my sisters. But genetically, we are the same. Ironically, he is the most "northern", yet is the darkest. But so are many other groups, example of two brothers that look different:

    Donald Trump Jr. has more of a "Roman" look, compared to Eric:

    Do we know their haplogroup?

    I can see a similarity between Edit: Eric Trump ( Its obvious I dont know their names xD) nose and mine. Although we differ on the forehead, hairline, cheekbones and chin.
    “Man cannot live without a permanent trust in something indestructible in himself, and at the same time that indestructible something as well as his trust in it may remain permanently concealed from him.”

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    Quote Originally Posted by Archetype0ne View Post
    Do we know their haplogroup?

    I can see a similarity between Edit: Eric Trump ( Its obvious I dont know their names xD) nose and mine. Although we differ on the forehead, hairline, cheekbones and chin.
    I believe I read somewhere that Trump is I1. Makes sense given his father's family came from Germany. The mother's line is from Scotland, I believe.

    Interesting how both of them came out with certain "Roman" looking noses, but that doesn't come from Trump. Their mother is Czech.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    I believe I read somewhere that Trump is I1. Makes sense given his father's family came from Germany. The mother's line is from Scotland, I believe.

    Interesting how both of them came out with certain "Roman" looking noses, but that doesn't come from Trump. Their mother is Czech.
    I wonder if autosomal DNA contributes more to looks than YDNA. My intuition surely supports such line of thinking.

    I agree they both have some semblance to the roman look, judging by busts and art.

    I found this:

    https://www.familytreedna.com/public...ction=yresults

    Seems the Trumps as a line are not homogenous in their YDNA... for whatever reason. There is an I1 there, so you might be right though.

    I wonder why you think their Roman looks come from their Czech side? Afaik neither Czech nor German were really influenced more than the other from Roman DNA, given they weren't part of the empire.

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