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Dr Who isn’t the only art-historical lookalike out there – here are four more of the best

28 March 2016

Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Look out for regular posts taking a rakish perspective on art and museum stories.

Rakewell turns his eagle eyes to Glasgow, where SNP councillor Greg Hepburn has made an astonishing discovery. Visiting the gallery of the City Chambers, Hepburn was taken aback by a portrait of Patrick Dollan, the Lord Provost of Glasgow from 1938 to 1941: as he noticed, it bore an uncanny likeness to Peter Capaldi, AKA TV’s premier time traveller Doctor Who.

Hepburn tweeted the bizarre lookalike, and his observation was soon picked up by the national media. ‘Does this painting from the 1930s prove that Dr Who is real?’, asked the Radio Times. The answer, Rakewell suspects, is no. Indeed, while the portrait does echo something of the 12th Doctor’s saturnine bearing, it’s hardly a dead ringer. Rakewell was convinced that he could find a better art-historical lookalike, and here, for your doppelganging delectation, is what he has come up on this urgent matter…

1) David Cameron
Catherine the Great (1794), Johann Baptist Lampi

When University of York student Sophie Gadd visited the Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin, she was surprised to discover that Johann Baptist Lampi’s oil portrait of Catherine the Great was the spitting image of our dear Prime Minister. No need for ‘are they perchance related?’ gags: as our colleagues at The Spectator discovered, they actually are. 

2) Jeremy Corbyn
Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky (1893), Nikolai Kuznetsov

Stranger still is Cameron’s sparring partner’s resemblance to the great composer Tchaikovsky. Despite looking like he could play the late Romantic master in a biopic, Corbyn is reportedly more likely to be found belting out Irish singalongs in the pub than knocking out festival overtures for the Moscow Exhibition.


3) Sylvester Stallone
The Cardinal and Theological Virtues (1511), Raphael

We knew Rocky was old when Stallone revived the franchise a few years back. But as Raphael shows us in this painting of Pope Gregory IX and his aides, we didn’t know quite how long the Italian Stallion had been at it. Spooky.

4) Bashar al-Assad
Dr François Brabander (1918), Amadeo Modigliani

As a likeness, Modigliani’s painting of Franco-Polish doctor and member of the Resistance François Brabander is an uncanny likeness of the Syrian dictator – albeit a red-headed version.

Can you think of any better likenesses? Send suggestions to @rakewelltweets or rakewell@apollomag.com