Scientists have managed to restore the real appearance of historical figures. See the result

Queen Elizabeth I

In 2018, British artist Mat Collishaw presented his robotic project  “Mask of Youth” , recreating the face of Queen Elizabeth I. When she took the throne, she was just 25 years old. The time of the Queen’s reign is called the Golden Age of England due to the flourishing of culture and the increasing importance of England on the world stage.

Elizabeth started showing her natural skills very early – at the age of ten, she spoke Greek, Italian and French well. Her Latin was impeccable – in that language the princess not only read the works of Roman historians but also wrote long letters to her stepmother, Catherine Parr.

William Shakespeare

Shakespeare scholars still cannot agree on the real appearance of the famous English playwright: all the portraits and busts of the classic were made after his death. Many confuse the death mask found in Germany in 1849 with a genuine Shakespeare representation. German forensic scientists recently confirmed that it belongs to Shakespeare, as it coincides with other images, in particular with the bust installed in the playwright’s grave by his relatives. 

It was this death mask that became the basis for reconstructing British specialists led by Stuart Clark: in 2010, they recreated a 3D model of Shakespeare’s face specifically for the film Death Masks. However, Shakespeare scholars refused to recognize the results of reconstruction as reliable.


In mass consciousness and in cinema, Cleopatra is a beautiful Caucasian woman. However, the Egyptologist says that when Cleopatra came to power, Cleopatra’s family lived in Egypt 300 years ago, which means that Egyptian and Greek blood were mixed in her and her skin tone was dark. Ashton created the image of Cleopatra in 2008 after serious research that lasted more than a year. Three-dimensional reconstruction is based on the preserved ancient images of the Egyptian queen and an analysis of her genealogy. 

Ricardo III

In 2012, the skeleton of the legendary English King Richard III, who died at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485, was found in a parking lot in Leicester – previously his body was believed to have been dumped in the Soir River and was lost forever. This discovery served as the start of a global study that included DNA analysis of the king’s remains and living descendants. One of the results was the reconstruction of Ricardo III’s appearance, which is especially important since the images of his whole life were not preserved.

Caroline Wilkinson – the same researcher in the case of St. Nicholas, was the one who restored the appearance. This time she started from the genetic examination data and the shape of the king’s skull. The image turned out to be similar to the portraits painted after the monarch’s death, including the older version – a portrait of Ricardo III from the collection of the Antiquary Society of London, created in the 1520s.


In 2007, researchers from the Universities of Bologna and Pisa recovered the identity of the author of The Divine Comedy, Dante Alighieri. The portrait is based on detailed descriptions and a plaster cast made by the Italian anthropologist Fabio Frassetto during the last opening of the poet’s tomb in 1921. It was especially difficult to restore the shape of the chin since Dante’s skull jaw was missing and the scientists selected one from the Frassetto collection, having examined 90 skulls from the Museum of Anthropology. 

As a result, the youngest Dante proved to be more human and gentle than is shown in the posthumous images created from the memories of his contemporaries. Its characteristic aquiline nose has become noticeably shorter.


Meritamon was the queen of Egypt and the daughter of the great pharaoh Ramses II, who ruled for 66 years in the 13th century BC. Meritamon was Ramses’ fourth daughter, but soon his mother and older sisters die, and Meritamon receives the title of “Chief Pharaoh’s Wife,” something like a queen. Toward the end of her life, the queen gained great influence over her father and the affairs of Egypt. 

She helped Ramses in the administration and maintained order in the provinces. Officially, Meritamon died when she was approximately 40 years old from an unknown disease. However, in the early 19th century, his tomb was discovered in the Valley of the Queens. And based on the samples from the mummies, the scientists determined that she was approximately 25 years old.

Simon bolivar

Simon Bolivar is a key figure in South American history. This man managed to gather around him many inhabitants of the Spanish colonies in South America and to start a war of independence. Thanks to his talent as a military leader, he quickly became the leader of the rebels and started a war against the Spaniards, who then fought with Napoleon. The rebel army managed to expel the colonists only in 1826, and Bolívar himself proclaimed Greater Colombia, which included almost all of South America, except for some parts of Chile, Argentina and Brazil. 

However, as early as 1830, Bolívar died and his country disintegrated. In 2010, during Bolívar’s burial, they managed to make a model of his skull and recreate his face. A very handsome man.


Polish economist, physicist, astronomer, mathematician, mechanic and, in general, an icon of science. He was the first to prove that he is not the Earth, as Ptolemy said, but the sun is the center of the universe and all the planets move around the sun. For this theory, the Catholic Church did not like him. Thanks to his writings, Copernicus was able to “open” space for science, which contributed to his later study. 

Copernicus died in 1543, at the age of 70. His burial was conducted only in 2005, and thanks to two hairs left in his book, it was possible to make an examination and confirm that the remains belong to an astronomer, mathematician and mechanic.

Maria Madalena

In 2017, anthropologist Philippe Charlier of the University of Versailles and forensic scientist Philippe Frosch  reconstructed the   appearance of Mary Magdalene. To recreate its appearance, they took more than 500 pictures of the skull from different angles and created a 3D computer model. However, according to the scientists, they are not sure that the skull really belonged to Mary Magdalene.


Emperor Caio Júlio César Augusto Germanico, nicknamed Caligula,  was a  cruel tyrant ruler, although at first he showed himself to be a moderate and pious man. He ruled the Roman Empire for only 4 years and was killed in a coup in the palace.


Spanish artist Salva Ruano created the Césares de Roma project , in which he reconstructed the faces of the Roman emperors Nero, Otaviano Augusto and Calígula. To convey his appearance as precisely as possible, the artist studied the coins with his image and all the sources at his disposal.

Nero became emperor when he was 16. At the beginning of his reign, he showed himself to be a restrained and calculating person, and in the second half of his term he showed his despotic character.

Nicholas the Wonderworker (the prototype of Santa Claus)

Christians call St. Nicholas Miraculous, in the East he is considered the patron saint of travelers, orphans and prisoners, and in the West – all people, but more children. He is also the prototype of Santa Claus.

British scientists reconstructed the exterior of Saint Nicholas in 2014, based on the skull. Its height was approximately 168 cm and its head was round and had a huge jaw.


The last fall, the world was hit by the publication of a 3D image of Tutankhamen, created by a team of scientists who examined his tomb. The first full-length portrait of the Egyptian pharaoh is based on an analysis of the anatomical features of the mummy – in total about 2,000 scans of the remains were made.

The resulting image turned out to be surprisingly ugly and far from the majestic image that was captured in Pharaoh’s golden funeral mask, which is kept in the Cairo Museum’s collection. Computer-modeled Tutankhamen is described as a lame and effeminate young man with protruding teeth, malocclusion, wide hips and narrow shoulders.


Perhaps the most expressive from the visual perspective is the work of the French studio Visual Forensic. The image of the revolutionary Maximilian Robespierre is the result of a 3D reconstruction based on Madame Tussaud’s death mask. Not only computer graphics specialists are involved in creating the image, but also anthropologists, pathologists and criminologists who investigate real crimes. 

One of the creators of the portrait, the French anthropologist and specialist in facial reconstruction Philippe Frosch, commented on his work: “There is no doubt that we see fear in your eyes. A 3D Scanner allowed us to obtain high accuracy and precision in reconstruction, this allowed us to reconstruct the details of the mask using the display method used by the FBI.”

Calpea, lived 7.5 thousand years ago

In 1996, the remains of a woman who lived 7,500 years ago, in the Neolithic period, were found on the Gibraltar Peninsula. It was named Calpeya – after the name of the rock where the woman was buried. His skull was deformed, but recently, with the help of modern technology, scientists have managed to restore it and reconstruct Calpea’s appearance in six months. They discovered that it was a dark-eyed brunette who died at the age of 30–40.

Johann Sebastian Bach

German composer who wrote more than 1000 works in all genres of the time. Johann lived 65 years, which is a lot for that time. Most of his life, Bach liked to eat and drink beer or wine. However, it did not affect his work, in contrast, it inspired him. For a long time, the tomb was considered lost, until in 1894 workers discovered it accidentally during the expansion of the Leipzig cemetery.

After the Second World War, the cemetery was rediscovered, molds were made and, only with the increase in technology, in 2008, the image of the great composer was recreated.

Henry IV (King of France)

Henrique de Navarra ruled France from 1589 to 1610. Death at the hands of the religious François Ravallac shortened his reign. The founder of the Bourbon dynasty always fought for peace and cared for the welfare of his subjects, for his actions he earned the nickname “the good King Henry.” In 1598, he signed the Edict of Nantes, ending an era of 30 years of religious wars in France. Philip Frosch created a 3D computer model based on a CT scan of Henry’s mummified head.

The Man of the Early Neolithic

This reconstruction is based on the remains of an elder found in 1863 in the Winterbourne Stoke community, near the famous Stonehenge. The researchers, as a result of their work found that he may be a man in his fifties, 500 years before Stonehenge.

Pharaoh Thoth’s mother, probably Nefertiti

A DNA test showed that the mummy, known as “The Young One,” is Achenaton’s sister (Thoth’s father) and Tuttanhamun’s mother. Many researchers believe that the remains belong to Nefertiti, the great queen of Egypt. Paleoartist Elizabeth Daynes used a 3D scan of The Younger Lady to reconstruct her bust.

 Anthony of Padua

Santo Antônio de Pádua was born in 1195 into a wealthy Lisbon family. Anthony was a Catholic priest and preacher, one of the most famous Franciscan monks. Antony is one of the fastest canonized saints in the history of the Catholic Church. Contemporaries highlighted his dedication, kindness and talent as a preacher, in 2014, researchers at the university built in honor of his created a team to reconstruct from a digital copy of the skull.

Dublin Man

The faces of the great figures in history, of course, are interesting, but ordinary people, whose names have not been preserved in history, are also curious to look. Last year, a team of experts from the John Moore University Facial Laboratory in Liverpool decided to turn their attention to them for a change.

It is assumed that the man was between 25 and 35 years old and belonged to the lowest class of the population. The severe deterioration of the skeleton at such a young age indicated exhausting physical work. The young man’s skull was in excellent condition, so anthropologists managed to get a very successful picture of the Irishman’s appearance.

John De Strevelyn

Also known as John Sterling. He was a medieval Scottish knight who died in 1387. His remains were found at Stirling Castle under a lost 12th-century chapel. Scientists at Dundee University used the latest scanning and copying technologies to recreate the appearance of a medieval warrior.

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