Replace Face is the codename of an artist who took inspiration from English painter George Dawe to reinvent celebrities as neoclassical generals. The series consists in updating each one of the original Dawe’s paintings by changing the general’s face with one of a modern day celebrity. The resulting work is the unique set above, can you recognize everyone in the set?
Here’s what Replace Face has to say about his own work:
One thing I’ve always wanted to try is to incorporate someone into a painting, mimicking the painterly brush strokes and making everything fit and work nicely and look natural and stuff. There’s an art to head swapping, I’ve seen so many awful attempts. The most important things to consider are anatomy, perspective and lighting. If you can get those things right, you’re more than halfway there. My artistic ability serves me well with this stuff, I can just tell if something looks wrong.
So I found a bunch of images online, faithful photographic reproductions of original artwork by George Dawe. He was an English portrait artist who lived in St Petersburg in 1819. He was commissioned to paint portraits of Russian Generals who had successfully fought Napoleon in the Patriotic War of 1812 and over a nine year period he completed over 300 of them.
Luckily for me the two dimensional works of art are in the public domain because the copyright has expired (under UK law this typically means the author died over 70 years ago) this means they can be used as a basis for a derivative work without permission.