Fact and Fiction

Thoughts about a funny old world, and what is real, and what is not. Comments are welcome, but please keep them on topic.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Nikola Tesla portrait

A while ago I received a gift of the pencil portrait below (drawn by Malcolm Victory):

This is a portrait of Nikola Tesla who was "the man who invented the 20th century". He looks as if he is in one of his more hectoring moods. Naturally, I have mixed feelings about receiving this gift!


At 5 April 2007 at 05:38, Blogger Miodrag said...

There's about 0% chance that this is supposed to be Tesla. He always had a mustache and a non-receding hairline, well into his old age. The facial features are quite off across the board. This looks like a drawing of some conductor.

At 5 April 2007 at 07:58, Blogger Steve said...

The artist who gave me the picture drew it from a photo of Nikola Tesla. Like you, I pointed out that it didn't actually look like photos of Tesla that I had seen (e.g. the missing moustache), but he insisted that it was indeed a photo of Tesla; the objects in the background of the original photo confirmed this interpretation.

Anyway, there is a photo of Tesla without a moustache here. The general features match up with the drawing that I was given.

At 5 April 2007 at 10:13, Blogger Miodrag said...

Alright, you got me on mustache:) Still, looks more like Feynman to me, however unsuitable the pose... Do you have the original photo?

Tesla was a showman, but from all the evidence I saw, a very cool and composed one. He let the lightning do the impressing. Like here or here

I'm not trying to be a pain in the ass, it's just that the person in the drawing is either conducting, or acting, or being ridiculously theatrical, and Tesla would have to be the latter. He's my childhood idol and I'm taking it a bit personally .

Anyway, enjoy the drawing!

At 5 April 2007 at 16:58, Blogger Steve said...

That's a good point about Feynman; the drawing does look like him. Now you have got me intrigued because Feynman is a childhood hero of mine, and he is the reason that I got into physics.

I will ask if the artist friend of mine who drew the portrait can find the original photo he based it on.

At 2 June 2009 at 12:15, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I do not like being critic but I'm afraid this is a bad representation of Tesla; it suffices to search on google images "portrait of tesla" to prove it ;). beside the moustache there are plenty of other details: tesla had a narrow and laterally compressed face; the nose shape also is quite the opposite aswell: the man in this drawing has a short low rooted and concave nose while Tesla's nose was long, high rooted, high bridged and wavy convex one.
The facial expression also is quite different of the one we get used to see from which Tesla's photos but of course this is a minor detail because it is not because Tesla used to chose flegmatic facial expressions when sitting for pictures that he was unable to show any other expression at all. I doubt the artist based himself on any real portrait of tesla for the drawing; I think he just depicted as he imagined him

At 2 June 2009 at 14:17, Blogger Stephen Luttrell said...

I have to agree with you - it's not Nicola Tesla. Somewhere along the way information about the subject of the picture got garbled. The background (not shown) of the picture contains a lot of Tesla-like apparatus (e.g. big sparky "things") which presumably contributed to this error.

Anyway, the picture was given to me for reasons that weren't entirely clear. I don't habitually point dramatically in a hectoring type of pose, do I?!


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