American Artist Made ‘Sad’ Historical Characters Smile

American artist and writer Carlyn Beccia added smiles to portraits of famous historical figures. Her work was noticed by the Ukrainian art critic Olena Chervonik.

Beccia processed in Photoshop the portraits of US presidents Abraham Lincoln and George Washington, British queens Victoria and Elizabeth I, revolutionary Ernesto Che Guevara, American abolitionist Harriet Tubman, writers Edgar Allan Poe and Mark Twain, and Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. She forced a smile even on the face of the ancient sculpture of emperor Julius Caesar.

“A smile often conceals more than it reveals. When we smile, it is not always because we are happy. We smile to make those around us happy. A smile is the first cloying plea to a fellow human – please like me.” — the artist wrote on her blog.

Beccia noted that in the nineteenth century, people never smiled for photos: photographic portraits were considered a serious business. Many people could only afford one or two photographs throughout their lives.

Earlier, MyHeritage, which helps people build a family tree and learn more about their roots, launched Deep Nostalgia. This service uses an AI technique called deep learning to automatically animate faces in old family photos and celebrity pictures: it creates short videos with the photo subject smiling and looking around.

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