Debussy reincarnated in artist’s lifelike classical composer 3D portraits

6 July 2021, 16:28 | Updated: 7 July 2021, 09:12

Debussy reincarnated in artist’s lifelike classical composer 3D portraits
Debussy reincarnated in artist’s lifelike classical composer 3D portraits. Picture: Hadi Karimi

By Rosie Pentreath

The Romantic composer has been brought realistically to life through digital sculpting technology.

An artist has created a stunning, realistic 3D portrait of classical music’s Claude Debussy.

Debussy, a late 19th-, early 20th-century composer known for his beautiful impressionist music, wrote extensively for the piano, orchestra and opera stages, and only lived for 52 years after being diagnosed with cancer.

And now, thanks to Iranian artist Hadi Karimi, we can experience a hyperreal likeness of the composer in full colour. Using a ‘digital sculpting’ tool called ZBrush, Karimi has brought the great composer back to life for music lovers to appreciate him in his full glory.

“Debussy was one of the pioneers of the Impressionism and beginning of a new wave of musicians that took creativity to the next level,” Karimi says. “Debussy’s compositions are so distinguishable from the composers that came before him, that the first time you listen to his works, you know that there's a new movement ahead.”

Read more: Romantic composers brought back to life in artist’s hyperrealistic 3D portraits

He continues: “Every single one of his notes are meticulously chosen and each line has a story to tell. I enjoy listening to Debussy because instead of following what was already working, he decided to risk his career and try something new.”

For those intrigued by the tech specs, Karimi explain that it’s “sculpted in ZBrush, the colour texture was painted in Substance Painter, rendered in Maya with Arnold” with “Xgen core for the hair” on his website.

This isn’t the first time Karimi has turned his talent to honouring great names in classical.

He’s produced jaw-dropping hyperreal likenesses of a whole host of other famous composers, including Mozart, Beethoven, Chopin and other Romantic composers, including Clara and Robert Schumann. He’s also created works featuring pop stars, actors and other public figures.

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Speaking to Classic FM previously, Karimi explained his affinity with classical music and why historic composers crop up in his artworks time and time again: “Some of these great composers can end up with such legendary, god-like status it’s easy to forget how perfectly ordinary as human beings they otherwise were.”

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

“Sometimes we remember them by just a name and if we’re lucky there’s a painting or a black and white photo from centuries ago that could barely show us what they actually looked like.”

He added: “We grew up with all these beautiful symphonies and memorable melodies, but do we know the minds behind them?”

With his realistic, ‘lived-in’ portraits, Karimi is helping us scratch beneath the surface.