103 Famous Faces in One Painting

This extraordinary painting depicting 103 figures from world history in striking detail has become the latest internet hit.

Click here to view the painting (2600 pixels wide)

Message boards have erupted with contests to identify all those featured, who range from instantly recognisable figures like Gandhi to some more obscure figures such as Liu Xiang, the Chinese hurdler who limped out of the Beijing Olympics in the summer.

An element of mystery also surrounds that origins of the picture, which appears to have drawn inspiration from Raphael’s Renaissance fresco The School of Athens.

While the figures in Raphael’s painting were all ancient philosophers, there appears little to connect the characters in the recent work which finds room for historical greats like Napoleon as well as Bill Gates, the bespectacled face of modern success.

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March 18, 2009