WTF Art History

How Would Superheroes Have Looked Like in the 17th Century?

Zuzanna Stańska 28 April 2022 min Read

The 17th century was a beautiful time full of people wearing ruffs. Huge, remarkable ruffs. Those ruffs stayed in my memory, like in Peter Paul Rubens’ portraits. They also stayed in the memory of the French photographer Sacha Goldberger who was inspired by the paintings hanging in his family house. He has created a quirky photo series that perfectly expresses the timeless quality of some of our favorite superheroes and villains by re-imagining them as 17th-century Flemish portrait models.

Michael Conrad Hirt, The wife of the burgomaster of Lübeck, 1642
Michael Conrad Hirt, The wife of the burgomaster of Lübeck, 1642, St. Anne’s Museum, Lübeck, Germany.

Goldberger was staging the series of superheroes of the 17th century for five years. Yes, those photos are not Photoshop! (except Yoda of course) Super Flemish photo series shows real superhero costumes, which manage to stay faithful both to the hero and to the historical period. The heroic look-alike models wearing them are also real people. Enjoy the portraits!

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Sacha Goldberger, Portrait of a cylindrical object in metal. Artist’s website.

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Sacha Goldberger, Portrait of a man in green with big muscles. Artist’s website.

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Sacha Goldberger, Portrait of a diabolic man with horns. Artist’s website.

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Sacha Goldberger, Portrait of a man with an S on his torso. Artist’s website.

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Sacha Goldberger, Portrait of a man in a mask with pointy ears. Artist’s website.

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Sacha Goldberger, Portrait of a very hairy man. Artist’s website.

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Sacha Goldberger, Portrait of a man who wears a helmet. Artist’s website.

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Sacha Goldberger, Portrait of a man in a black helmet. Artist’s website.

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Sacha Goldberger, Portrait of a woman in red and blue with a diadem and a lasso. Artist’s website.

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Sacha Goldberger, Portrait of a masked man. Artist’s website.

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Sacha Goldberger, Portrait of a princess. Artist’s website.

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Sacha Goldberger, Portrait of a masked man. Artist’s website.

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Sacha Goldberger, A grimacing smile. Artist’s website.

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Sacha Goldberger, Knight with a helmet in the colors of the United States of America. Artist’s website.

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Sacha Goldberger, Portrait of a woman and her animal. Artist’s website.

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