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Portraits of Famous Figures Recreated by Their Descendants


For his project The Descendants, photographer Drew Gardner has been recreating famous historical portraits with the descendants of the subjects.

For example, to recreate Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, arguably the best-known portrait painting in the world, Gardner located Irina Guicciardini Strozzi, the 15th great-granddaughter of Lisa Gherardini, who posed for Da Vinci. He attempted to recreate the same pose, background, clothing, and lighting for his modern-day Mona Lisa, and the side-by-side comparison can be seen above.

Gardner’s recreation of a famous Thomas Jefferson portrait, featuring his Black sixth great-grandson, went viral on the Internet recently.

Here are other recreations Gardner has shot for The Descendants:

Napoleon in his study, by Jacques-Louis David, 1812 (left) and Hugo de Salis, fourth-great grandson of Napoleon, by Drew Gardner (right).
Frederick Douglass (left) and Kenneth Morris, Douglass’s third great-grandson, by Drew Gardner (right).
Berthe Morisot, by Edouard Manet, 1872 (left) and Lucie Rouart, great-granddaughter of Morisot, by Drew Gardner (right).
Isambard Kingdom Brunel by Robert Howlett, 1857, © National Portrait Gallery (left) and Isambard Thomas, Brunel’s third great-grandson, by Drew Gardner (right).
Clive of India, Robert Clive by Nathaniel Dance, 1773 (left) and Robert Holden, the fifth great-grandson of Clive of India, by Drew Gardner (right).
Oliver Cromwell by Robert Walker (left) and Charles Bush, Cromwell’s ninth great-grandson, by Drew Gardner (right).
Charles Dickens by Herbert Watkins, 1858, © National Portrait Gallery (left) and Gerald Charles Dickens, Dickens’ second great-grandson, by Drew Gardner (right).
Horatio Nelson by Friedrich Heinrich Fuger, 1800, by Royal Naval Museum, Portsmouth (left) and William John Raglan Horatio Tribe, Nelson’s fourth great-grandson, by Drew Gardner (right).
Women’s rights activist Emeline Pankhurst (left) and Helen Pankhurst, Pankhurst’s great-granddaughter, by Drew Gardner (right).
William Wordsworth, portrait by William Shuter, 1798, © Cornell University (left) and Tom Wonter, Wordsworth’s fourth great-grandson, by Drew Gardner (right).

“After in-depth research tracing the direct descendants and verifying their lineage, the famous portraits are recreated with painstaking attention to the smallest of details,” Gardner writes. “The end results often show startling resemblances to their forebears.”

You can find more of Gardner’s work on his website, Facebook, and Instagram.

Image credits: Photographs by Drew Gardner and used with permission