History is a tricky thing. Not only is it written by the winners, but it’s can also seem so far away and unrelatable that it’s nearly impossible to view it as anything but a collection of stories. You rarely think of historical figures as real people with problems and feeling, to us they’re just these characters who did massive things that might’ve changed the history. But Becca Saladin, a graphic designer, decided it was about time someone challenged that idea. So she decided to use photoshop to see what famous historical figures would look like now.
She first got the idea when she couldn’t find any good portraits of her favorite historical figure – Anne Boleyn. Anne was the second wife of King Henry VIII, and she was unfairly executed just so that the king could marry again. Anne is often described as vivacious, witty and charming, but her portraits are very pale and flat and fail to showcase her real personality and spirit.
So she sat down and used her photoshop skills to Anne’s advantage and tried to imagine what she would look like if she lived in modern times. Once she was done she realized that’s something she could do with other famous historical figures. After all, even if the portraits are somewhat ok, the setting, the pose, the background and the clothes in them are still so old it doesn’t feel real. That’s how the Instagram account Royalty Now was started. Now she has almost 200K followers and it just keeps growing. Here are some of her works with her respective captions.
Here’s Becca’s version of Anne Boleyn that she posted on Instagram with a caption: “ I hope nobody here will get tired of my Anne Boleyn posts…she is my favorite historical figure so you may get quite a few :) Many people asked me last time I posted Anne if I really thought her features (specifically her lips) were really that delicate – and I don’t think they were. Tudor portraiture often de-emphasized these features, so I modified my finished version to reflect what I think is probably her more likely appearance.”
“Venus from Botticelli’s famous “The Birth of Venus”, painted during the height of the Italian Renaissance. The model for Venus is the gorgeous Simotta Vespucci, one of the artist’s muses. I think she’s one of the most beautiful females ever painted – do you think anyone tops her?”
“Here we are with Genghis Khan, one of the most fascinating rulers in history and the founder of the Mongol Empire. Genghis was also responsible for millions of deaths. This was one that was requested many times over the past week. This is the only portrait of Genghis Khan that was supervised by someone who knew what he looked like – his grandson Khubilai Khan.”
“As most of you know, Abe Lincoln was the 16th president of the United States from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. Lincoln led the nation through the American Civil War, its bloodiest war and its greatest moral, constitutional, and political crisis. He preserved the Union, abolished slavery, strengthened the federal government, and modernized the U.S. economy.”
“This is Madame du Barry – the official mistress of Louis XV after his first love, Madame de Pompadour’s death.”
“Louis XV is lesser known than his predecessor the Sun King and his heir, Louis XVI, but he was the second-longest reigning monarch in French history. “
“This bust of Nefertiti (believed to have been sculpted during her lifetime) is famous for its grace and beauty. Nefertiti lived from approximately 1370 – 1330 BC. She was an Egyptian queen and the wife of Akhenaten, an Egyptian Pharaoh. Akhenaten is famous for his attempt to transition Egypt into a monotheistic society (worshipping only the sun god, Aten), instead of a polytheistic one.”