See Beethoven’s ‘real’ face in artist’s 3D colourised portraits

17 November 2020, 12:03 | Updated: 19 November 2020, 19:20

Beethoven's 'real' face?
Beethoven's 'real' face? Picture: Hadi Karimi

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

Beethoven – colourised and in 3D, as if he were alive today. This is photorealism at its finest...

An artist has sculpted 3D, colourised portraits of the great man, Ludwig van Beethoven.

Hadi Karimi, an Iranian visual artist who has created 3D renderings of composers including Chopin, Clara Schumann and Brahms, chose Beethoven as his latest subject for a special reason.

For the artist, it wasn’t so much to do with the composer’s 250th anniversary, but more about repainting Beethoven’s ‘image’ with a slightly more human brush.

“Beethoven is often portrayed as this heroic figure that resembles more of a Greek god than a human who dedicated his life to music,” he says.

To reconstruct the composer’s face the artist worked from his life mask and a bust, both made by the same man, Franz Klein, in the year 1812.

Beethoven would have been around 42 years old.

Read more: Chopin’s face is brought to life in artist’s incredible 3D portraits >

“He also had a death mask,” Karimi says, “But due to his illness, he lost so much weight that the mask is almost useless for this purpose.”

In the images (you can scroll through on Instagram above), the German Romantic, sculpted in a programme called ZBrush with added colour texture through Substance Painter, appears in a surprisingly lifelike light.

To achieve LVB’s signature flyaway mane, Karimi used a tool called Xgen core on his hair. The whole process, he says, took two to three weeks.

Beethoven’s portraits paint him as a genius, a stuff-of-legend figure from way back in the annals of music history. But these new renderings gives him a lick of humanity – a glimpse, perhaps, into the inner torment Beethoven the man was really going through.

Read more: So if Beethoven was completely deaf, how did he compose? >

Beethoven's 5th, conducted by a 3-year-old boy

Karimi’s portraits have been filling musicians around the world with joy.

“Excellent work. The man is alive!” one user commented on Facebook.

Another wrote on Instagram: “Man, your work is just amazing!!!! Just keep doing this good job for the good of all of us! Very, very nice!!”

Another added: “Wow, amazing. I’m waiting eagerly for the Mozart’s one.”

As are we…