Artist brings famous historical portraits to life in hyperrealistic drawings

28 July 2020, 16:11 | Updated: 29 July 2020, 19:02

Artist creates realistic portraits of famous figures
Artist creates realistic portraits of famous figures. Picture: Joongwon Jeong

By Maddy Shaw Roberts

This artist is helping the world find a deeper connection with our most beloved works of art.

Artist Joongwon Jeong has been drawing highly realistic portraits of famous figures from the past, and from legend and myth.

Vincent Van Gogh, Homer and Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam have all been the subject of Jeong’s gaze. His aim is to draw our most beloved works of art in a new light, helping people to find a new relationship with them.

In the lifelike new portraits, all drawn with acrylic paints, Venus de Milo has a smattering of pimples, God’s hair is lusciously wavy, and chucking Darwin’s beard is just deliciously tempting. There’s also an awkward sense of unease that comes with staring deep into Sigmund Freud’s eyes.

“I think drawing is the process of conveying that vivid gaze to the viewer by looking at the object unfamiliarly and expressing it in my own language,” Jeong says on Class 101, where he holds acrylic drawing classes.

“Drawing a portrait is a new relationship with the object. Looking and observing the object for a long time, we discover things that were not seen with our ordinary gaze.

“The painting is only a replica image reproduced on a two-dimensional plane, but from that image we look back, feel, think and imagine the original object again. When the object is freed from this cliché, our emotions and thoughts expand.”

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

  1. Michelangelo’s Adam

    Michelangelo's Adam
    Picture: Getty/Joongwon Jeong
  2. Michelangelo’s God

    Michelangelo's God
    Picture: Getty/Joongwon Jeong
  3. Costanza Bonarelli

    Costanza Bonarelli
    Picture: Getty/Joongwon Jeong
  4. Vincent van Gogh

    Vincent van Gogh
    Picture: Getty/Joongwon Jeong
  5. Homer

    Picture: Getty/Joongwon Jeong
  6. Venus de Milo

    Venus de Milo
    Picture: Getty/Joongwon Jeong
  7. Sigmund Freud

    Sigmund Freud
    Picture: Getty/Joongwon Jeong
  8. Pope Julius II

    Pope Julius II
    Picture: Getty/Joongwon Jeong
  9. Giuliano de’ Medici

    Giuliano de’ Medici
    Picture: Getty/Joongwon Jeong
  10. Charles Darwin

    Charles Darwin
    Picture: Getty/Joongwon Jeong

Have a look at Jeong’s Instagram page for more wonderful renderings of artwork from the past.