An ancient doppelgänger? Quebec artist matches people with 2,000-year-old doubles

Have you ever wondered if there’s someone out there who looks just like you?

An exhibition on ancient doppelgänger, doubles and lookalikes is in the works at Musée de la civilisation in Quebec City.

The aim is to find people who look just like statues taken from the collections of the Musée d’art et d’histoire de Genève and the Fondation Gandur pour l’Art.



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    The exhibition is the brainchild of the museum’s former director, Michel Côté.

    “He just asked me, ‘Well, we’re doing this exhibit of ancient sculptures, and what do you think of finding lookalikes of ancient sculptures?’ I always say ‘Yes’ to special ideas,” said Montreal photographer François Brunelle.

    Over the last few months, the museum invited people from all over the world to submit photographs of their faces in the hopes of finding their ancient twin.

    READ MORE: WATCH: Doppelganger students from U.K., Ireland meet in Germany during exchange

    Of 75,000 submissions from around the world, about 30 will be chosen to be featured in the museum’s exhibition.

    WATCH BELOW: Ancient doppelgangers?

    “I always like challenges. I always like to do the impossible,” Brunelle told Global News.

    “At first, we were supposed to find lookalikes from Quebec City, and then we got all these calls and photos from all over the place.”

    The world-famous photographer said he’s hoping to travel, no matter where they are in the world, to photograph them.

    Their portraits will stand next to their ancient statuette doppelgänger.

    “I hope when people get inside this room, when they see the sculptures and the photos of the people, that they get excited,” Brunelle told Global News.

    “My personal goal is that if you see some figures, I think there’s a Cesar in there, then you have this guy who works as an electrician from Laval and he looks like Cesar exactly and you say, ‘Cesar could have been an electrician.’”

    WATCH BELOW: People searching for their 2,000-year-old double

    The Sherbrooke native has gained incredible recognition for his project Je ne suis pas un sosie ! (I’m Not a Lookalike!).

    Since 1999, the photographer has travelled the world looking for people who look alike, and photographing them together.

    “When I take this photo, I play with their expressions: ‘Look sad, smile,’ and finally I try —; I’m not sure if I succeed all the time —; I try to find a common expression [between the doubles],” explained Brunelle.

    “With a statue, it has one expression, and sometimes it’s quite neutral because it’s a statue.”

    “I already have photos of the statues from many angles, so we may decide, say we take this guy from Montreal or Quebec City or Russia and say, ‘Oh, he looks like this statue.’”

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    So far, there are a handful of near-perfect matches to several Greco-Roman antiquities and Egyptian funerary portraits.

    “It’s exciting. It’s a connection in time. I call it time travel,” Brunelle told Global News.

    The Betaface API face identification process works like this:

    The face is detected in the picture and its position.Facial features are extracted (nose, eyes, mouth, etc.)The features are normalized as a set of connected points, or “template.”They are compared with a previously compiled database of statue templates.The results are presented and expressed as a percentage of similarity.

    Take a look at all the statues looking for their modern-day doubles here.

    My 2,000-Year-Old Double is expected to be on display from Oct. 24, 2018, to Oct. 27, 2019.

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