A digital artist is using AI to reveal how history’s great composers would look today

16 February 2022, 17:11 | Updated: 16 February 2022, 21:53

Beethoven. Picture: Instagram / Getty

By Siena Linton

These artistic renditions of historical portraits as modern-day photographs are just too convincing.

As so many composers, artists, and other great historical figures were around before the invention of photography, the only way we can get a vague idea of what they looked like is by relying on their fellow creatives’ artistic depictions of them in paint and marble.

But what if we had been able to photograph history’s greats? Yes, their portraits are iconic and instantly recognisable, but wouldn’t it be great to imagine what they might have looked like if they were around today?

Well, luckily for us, we don’t have to imagine. Brazilian artist Hidreley Diao (@hidreley) has been using artificial intelligence (AI) to breathe photographic life into the portraits and sculptures of Mozart, Beethoven, Shakespeare and more, posting the fascinating results to his Instagram page.

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

Here are some of our favourites…

Read more: A caricature artist has inserted Mr Bean’s face into great paintings and it’s just wonderful

  1. Ludwig van Beethoven (1770 – 1827)

    Ludwig van Beethoven
    Ludwig van Beethoven. Picture: Getty

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

  2. Joan of Arc (c. 1412 – 1431)

    Joan of Arc
    Joan of Arc. Picture: Getty
  3. William Shakespeare (1564 – 1616)

    William Shakespeare
    William Shakespeare. Picture: Getty
  4. Frédéric Chopin (1810 – 1849)

    Frederic Chopin
    Frederic Chopin. Picture: Getty

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

  5. Vincent van Gogh (1853 – 1890)

    Self-Portrait by Vincent van Gogh
    Self-Portrait by Vincent van Gogh. Picture: Getty
  6. Mona Lisa (1503)

    Mona Lisa
    Mona Lisa. Picture: Alamy
  7. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 – 1791)

    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Picture: Getty

    Read more: Mozart is reborn in artist’s striking 3D colourised sculptures

  8. Zeus (c. 1700 BC)

    Zeus. Picture: Alamy
  9. Nefertiti, Queen of Egypt (c. 1370 – c. 1330 )

    Nefertiti. Picture: Getty
  10. J. S. Bach (1685 – 1750)

    J. S. Bach
    J. S. Bach. Picture: Getty

    Read more: Bach’s face revealed in artist’s extraordinary 3D sculptures