Monday, November 24, 2008

Copernicus Look-a-likes

I have blogged in the past about misidentified portraits. Identifying portraits is a tricky business. Often art historians will look at the costume, jewelry and props surrounding the portrait. To determine dates, x-rays and carbon dating can be employed. But even after science and the most knowledgeable art historians weigh in, we often still get it wrong. Examples of famous people misidentified include the painting of Lady Jane Grey by Master John (shown here). Susan James was the first to identify this painting as Katherine Parr (The sixth wife of Henry VIII) and not the tragic nine day queen.

By far, the most useless technique in identifying portraits is sometimes our own eyes. It is not enough to say, “portrait A looks like portrait B so they must be the same person.” (I admit that I catch myself doing this sometimes too.) To prove this point, come play one of my favorite games…

The History/Celebrity Look-a-Like Game
What is History Celebrity Look-a-Like you ask? It is only the most entertaining museum game in the history of the art world. The rules are as follows:

Players: 2+

Object: To find people in portraiture that look like celebrities.

6 points for major celebrities
5 points if their dead
2 points for B- list celebrities

Play: Once a famous person is identified in a portrait, the other player has the right to “contest” the call. Contesting a call requires enlisting the help of a “judge” in the form of a stranger, museum curator or 3rd party not involved in the game. The judge must determine if the celebrity look-a-like call is a bad match. If the match is determined a bad call then the player who made the call loses 6 points. You can only contest 3 calls in one game.

Winner: The person with the most points at the end of the museum trip.

Now that you know the rules, here are some examples that I have found:

Marie Antoinette and Nicole Kidman
Marie Antoinette
I have always thought Nicole Kidman was a dead ringer for Marie Antoinette. This portrait by Austrian painter, Martin van Meytens portrays Marie Antoinette at the age of 12. Nicole's forehead is not as high and she is certainly missing the Hapsburg chin, but there is something oddly Marie Antoinette-like about the Aussie star.

Louis XIV and Paul Stanley

Louis XIV
OK I am going to date myself on this one, but Paul Stanley (from the rock band KISS) IS Louis XIV reincarnated.

Nicolaus Copernicus and James Cromwell

I found this one recently on Tudor It turns out that some sly archaeologists found the remains of Nicolaus Copernicus and used forensic facial reconstruction to make this image of the famed astronomer. I think that they really stole James Cromwell's DNA.

Martin Luther and Bob the Bachelor

Despite the fact that this one is worth only 2 points, I still think it is a good call. Most of you probably won't know who this Reality TV star is unless you watch ABC's The Bachelor. This was Bob The Bachelor (Yes they really called him that) and now I have lost all credibility by admitting that I watch The Bachelor.

Madame de Pompadour and Drew Barrymore

This one got "contested" and I think wrongly so. There is something about these two femme fatales that makes them seem like they could be related in a past life. To prove this point, I have added the Vermilion cheeks and a little grey powder to Miss Barrymore's picture.

Anne Boleyn and Audrey Hepburn

Although no one knows what Henry VIII's second wife really looked like, in this painting, she is screaming Breakfast at Tiffany's.

I will admit that some of these examples are better than others. But you can see how easy it is for two unrelated people to look similar.

What are your favorite Celebrity/History look-a-like?


Lucy said...

Wow!! I think these are great. Your choices are such a match!

Amydeanne said...

okay that was hilarious! what a neat idea!

Lorraine said...

I'm here via Dolce B. and well wow, what a blog... great fun, congratulations!

Retch, the word verification says, and I say NO WAY ;)

Bearded Lady said...

Ms.Lucy, Amy and Lorraine, Thanks for stopping by. Let me know if you spot any history/celebrity look-a-likes in the future...

Anonymous said...

Copernicus is hilarious! Wow!

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Amanda said...

Oh I found one a while back after reading Galileo's Daughter and thought she looked a lot like Barbara Streisand. Here's my post:

Bearded Lady said...

Oh that is a GOOD one! The nose and the eyes are dead on.

Anonymous said...

Ohmygod.....Louis XIV and Paul Stanley? LOL