Fans of English Romantic poet John Keats might soon be able to witness what he actually looked and sounded like ahead of his 200th death anniversary that will be commemorated on February 23.
According to a report by The Telegraph, the bicentennial celebrations that are being coordinated by the Keats-Shelley Memorial Association had commissioned a creation of a virtual version of Keats from the Institute for Digital Archaeology (IDA) in Oxford.The poetdied at the age of 25 due to tuberculosis in Rome, Italy on February 23, 1821. However, he may come back to life for 24 hours with the help of linguists, curators and physicists who have worked together to give the poet an extra day since his tombstone mentioned that he died a day later than he actually did.
Since he died at a young age, the researchers who have created his virtual version heavily relied on two of his miniature paintings and a plaster of Paris death mask, which was scanned hundreds of times to create a 3D image, reported The Telegraph.
Speaking to the website, IDA’s executive director Roger Michel, who did much of the research for this ambitious project, said that Keats’ appearance is not really a problem because they are working from very high-quality sources, including two miniature portraits painted during his life. Michel further said that in those days, the photorealistic miniature filled the space later taken by photography itself.
On his 200th death anniversary, Keats' virtual image will be brought to life and his final poem Bright star, would I were stedfast as thou artwill be recited by him at the Keats-Shelley House, where he died 200 years ago.
According to aDailyMail report, besides recreating his appearance, a team of vocal specialists will also recreate his voice and diction. The report further mentioned that Keats’ clothing is also being recreated by a team of experts, who are still working on the final look. Michel also mentioned that his clothing choice is presenting a difficulty as anecdotal accounts suggested that he adopted a more 'continental style' during his last five months in Rome.