Eldred Gregory Peck (April 5, 1916 – June 12, 2003) was an American actor. He was one of the most popular film stars from the 1940s to the 1960s. In 1999, the American Film Institute named Peck among 25 Greatest Male Stars of Classic Hollywood Cinema, ranking him at No. 12.
After studying at the Neighborhood Playhouse with Sanford Meisner, he began appearing in stage productions, acting in over fifty plays and three Broadway productions. Peck first gained critical success in The Keys of the Kingdom (1944) which earned him his first Academy Award nomination. He starred in a series of successful films, including romantic-drama The Valley of Decision (1944), Alfred Hitchcock's Spellbound (1945), and family film The Yearling (1946).
Peck reached global recognition in the 1950s and 1960s, appearing back-to-back in the book-to-film adaptation of Captain Horatio Hornblower (1951) and biblical drama David and Bathsheba (1951), as well as in Roman Holiday (1953) co starring Audrey Hepburn, which earned Peck a Golden Globe award.
He won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance as Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), an adaptation of the modern classic of the same name which revolved around racial inequality, for which he received universal acclaim.
Peck was also active in politics and philanthropy. President Lyndon B. Johnson honored Peck with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1969 for his lifetime humanitarian efforts.
Peck died in his sleep from bronchopneumonia at the age of 87.
Eldred Gregory Peck was born on April 5, 1916, in La Jolla, California, to Bernice Mae (1894–1992), and Gregory Pearl Peck (1886–1962), a chemist and pharmacist. He was raised as a Catholic.
Peck's parents divorced when he was five, and he was brought up by his maternal grandmother, who took him to the movies every week. She died when he was 10, At 14, he moved back to San Diego to live with his father.
At University of Berkeley, Peck's deep, well-modulated voice gained him attention, and after participating in a public speaking course, he decided to try acting. He appeared in five plays during his senior year, including as Starbuck in Moby Dick. Peck would later say about his years at Berkeley that "it was a very special experience for me and three of the greatest years of my life. It woke me up and made me a human being."
Peck did not finish the university however, and headed to New York City to study at the Neighborhood Playhouse with the legendary acting teacher Sanford Meisner. He was often broke, and sometimes slept in Central Park.
His stage career began in 1941, when he played the secretary in George Bernard Shaw's play The Doctor's Dilemma. He made his Broadway debut as the lead in Emlyn Williams' The Morning Star in 1942. Peck's acting abilities were in high demand during World War II because he was exempted from military service, owing to a back injury suffered while receiving dance and movement lessons from Martha Graham as part of his acting training. Peck performed in a total of 50 plays, including three short-lived Broadway productions, 4–5 road tours, and summer theater.
In October 1942, Peck married Finnish-born Greta Kukkonen (1911–2008), with whom he had three sons: Jonathan (1944–1975), Stephen (b. 1946), and Carey Paul (b. 1949). They were divorced on December 31, 1955. Peck's eldest son was found dead in his home on June 26, 1975, in what authorities believed was a suicide.
After gaining stage recognition, Peck was offered his first film role, the male lead in the war-romance Days of Glory (1944), directed by Jacques Tourneur, alongside top-billed Tamara Toumanova, a Russian-born ballerina. The film lost money at the box office, disappeared from theaters quickly, and was largely dismissed by critics.
Following the release of the film, Peck gained the attention of producers, but rather than participating in the studio system, he decided to remain a freelancer with the ability to choose his roles, signing non-exclusive contracts with four studios, including an unusual dual contract with 20th Century Fox and Gone With the Wind producer David O. Selznick.
Peck won his first Academy Awards in his second movie The Keys of the Kingdom (1944) which features him as an 80-year-old Roman Catholic priest looking back at his undertakings during over half a century spent as a determined, self-sacrificing missionary in China. The film shows the character aging from his 20s to 80; Peck featured in almost every scene.The film was nominated for four Academy Awards, including the Academy Award for Best Actor.
In 1945, Peck starred in the suspense-romance Spellbound (1945) by Alfred Hitchcock, opposite Ingrid Bergman. Peck plays a man who is thought to be the new director of the psychiatric facility where Bergman's character works as a psychoanalyst, while his amnesia and disturbing visions suggest he may be a murderer.
During filming, Peck had a brief affair with Ingrid Bergman. He confessed the affair in a 1987 interview, saying: "All I can say is that I had a real love for her [Ingrid Bergman], and I think that's where I ought to stop...I was young. She was young. We were involved for weeks in close and intense work."
Released at the end of 1945, Spellbound was a hit, ranking as the third-most successful film of 1946, and was nominated for six Academy Awards including Best Picture.
In 1947, Peck co-founded The La Jolla Playhouse, at his birthplace, with Mel Ferrer and Dorothy McGuire. This summer stock company presented productions in the La Jolla High School Auditorium from 1947 until 1964. In 1983, the La Jolla Playhouse re-opened in a new home at the University of California, San Diego, where it operates today. It has attracted Hollywood film stars on hiatus, both as performers and enthusiastic supporters, since its inception.
In 1951 Peck starred in the book-to-film adaptation Captain Horatio Hornblower, featururing Peck as the commander of a warship in the British fleet during the Napoleonic Wars who finds romance with Virginia Mayo's character. He then made David and Bathsheba, a Biblical epic, which was the top-grossing movie of 1951. The two-hit-movie elevated Peck to the status of Hollywood mega-star.
Peck's "first real foray into comedy" was Roman Holiday (1953), directed by William Wyler. He portrayed American journalist Joe Bradley opposite Audrey Hepburn as a European princess in her first significant film role. Peck's role in Roman Holiday had originally been offered to Cary Grant, who turned it down because the part appeared to be more of a supporting role to the princess. Peck had the same concern, but was persuaded by Wyler that the on-site filming in Rome would be an exceptional experience, and accepted the part. It was him who insisted that Hepburn's name be above the title of the film (just beneath his) in the opening credits. Peck later stated that he had told his agent "I’m smart enough to know this girl’s going to win the Oscar in her first picture, and I’m going to look like a damned fool if her name is not up there on top with mine."
Roman Holiday was a commercial success, finishing 22nd in the box office in 1953. It was nominated for multiple accolades, including 8 Academy Awards, with Hepburn winning for Best Actress; Peck also scored a BAFTA nomination for Foreign Actor. At the 1955 Golden Globe awards, Peck and Hepburn were named the World Film Favorite Award winners for their respective genders.
After Roman Holiday, Peck was based in the United Kingdom for about 18 months between 1953 and 1955 for tax reasons. While there, Peck starred in The Million Pound Note (1954), based on a Mark Twain short story. Peck enjoyed the films production as "it was a good comedy opportunity" and "was given probably the most elegant wardrobe he had ever worn in film."
That year, Peck was named the third most popular non-British film star in the United Kingdom.
On New Year's Eve in 1955, the day after his divorce was finalized, Peck married Véronique Passani (1932–2012), a Paris news reporter who had interviewed him in 1952 before he went to Italy to film Roman Holiday. He asked her to lunch six months later, and they became inseparable. They had a son, Anthony Peck (b. 1956), and a daughter, Cecilia Peck (b. 1958).
From the 60s, besides his work as actor, Peck was active in the other side of film industry. He served as the president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1967, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the American Film Institute from 1967 to 1969. He has also been involved in philanthropy, serving as National Chairman of the American Cancer Society in 1966, and a member of the National Council on the Arts from 1964 to 1966.
In the 1980s, Peck moved to television, His last prominent film role came in 1991, in Other People's Money. Peck played a business owner trying to save his company against a hostile takeover bid by a Wall Street liquidator.
Peck retired from active film-making after the film.
After a movie career of five decades, Peck's own favorite film was To Kill a Mockingbird(1962), the film adaptation of Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel of the same name; Peck plays the part of a kind and scrupulously honest lawyer father, Atticus Finch. Peck won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance, which was his fifth and last time nominated.
Peck would later say of To Kill A Mockingbird: "My favorite film, without any question."
And his favorite co-star was Ava Gardner. He made 3 films with Gardner, the first one was The Great Sinner(1949), a period drama-romance where Peck played a Russian writer trying to help Ava Gardner and her father pay back their debt and became addicted to gambling himself. The film itself was a critical and commercial failure, but Peck ended up becoming great friend of Ava Gardner.
His another two films with Gardner were The Snows of Kilimanjaro(1952), an adaptation of a short story by Ernest Hemingway; and On the Beach(1959) based on a best-selling book.
Their friendship lasted for the rest of Ava Gardner's life, and upon her death in 1990, Peck took in both her housekeeper and her dog.
Peck spent the last years of his life touring the world doing speaking engagements in which he would show clips from his movies and take questions from the audience. He came out of retirement for a 1998 mini-series version of one of his most famous films, Moby Dick. It was his final performance, and it won him the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Miniseries, or Television Film.
On June 12, 2003, Peck died in his sleep from bronchopneumonia at the age of 87 at his home in Los Angeles.His wife, Veronique, was by his side.
Gregory Peck is entombed in the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels mausoleum in Los Angeles.
Giovanni Boldini (31 December 1842 – 11 July 1931) was an Italian genre and portrait painter who lived and worked in Paris for most of his career. According to a 1933 article in Time magazine, he was known as the "Master of Swish" because of his flowing style of painting.
Giovanni Boldini was born in Ferrara, the son of a painter of religious subjects, and in 1862 went to Florence for six years to study and pursue painting and met there other realist painters known as the Macchiaioli, who were Italian precursors to Impressionism. Their influence is seen in Boldini's landscapes which show his spontaneous response to nature, although it is for his portraits that he became best known.
Moving to London, Boldini attained success as a portraitist. He completed portraits of premier members of society including Lady Holland and the Duchess of Westminster. From 1872 he lived in Paris, where he became a friend of Edgar Degas. He became the most fashionable portrait painter in Paris in the late 19th century, with a dashing style of painting which shows some Macchiaioli influence and a brio reminiscent of the work of younger artists, such as John Singer Sargent and Paul Helleu.
He was nominated commissioner of the Italian section of the Paris Exposition in 1889, and received the Légion d'honneur for this appointment. In 1897 he had a solo exhibition in New York. He participated in the Venice Biennale in 1895, 1903, 1905, and 1912.
The famous Giovanni Boldini's "Portrait of Franca Florio" was commissioned by Ignazio Florio. Boldini’s initial, beautifully provocative version, painted in 1901 was not approved of by Ignazio Florio. He reportedly found it risqué and "unnatural and unreal" looking and demanded that Boldini lengthen the dress and add full sleeves with wide black lace. Once Boldini had reworked the work to oblige his commissioner’s discontent it was exhibited at the 1903 Venice Biennial.
The portrait remained like this until 1924 when, with the demise of the Florio family’s wealth, Baron Maurice de Rothschild acquired it. Therefore, Rothschild engaged Boldini to restore it to its original sensual version. After two auction (Christie's 1995 and Sotheby's 2005), the painting has been on display at the Grand Hotel Villa Igiea in Palermo since 2006.
In 2017 it went to auction again. It is said that the necklace in the painting, with 365 pearls, one for each day of the year, was a present from the husband, begging forgiveness for his many affairs.
A Boldini portrait of his former muse Marthe de Florian, a French actress, was discovered in a Paris flat in late 2010, hidden away from view on the premises that were unvisited for over 50 years. The portrait has never been listed, exhibited or published and the flat belonged to de Florian's granddaughter, who inherited the flat after her father's death in 1966 and lived in the South of France after the outbreak of the Second World War and never returned to Paris. A love-note and a biographical reference to the work painted in 1888, when the actress was 24, cemented its authenticity. A full-length portrait of the lady in the same clothing and accessories, but less provocative, hangs in the New Orleans Museum of Art.
The discovery of his painting in the 70-years-empty apartment forms the background to Michelle Gable's 2014 novel A Paris Apartment.
name: Gianlorenzo Bernini
original name: Cavaliere Bernini
birth place: Naples
birth date: 7 December 1598
zodiac sign: Sagittarius
death place: Rome
death date: 28 November 1680
Biography of Gian Lorenzo Bernini
Gian Lorenzo Bernini, is an Italian artist, painter, sculptor, architector, inventor, he is credited to have created the Baroque style of sculpture.
While a major figure in the world of architecture, he was, also and even more prominently, the leading sculptor of his age, credited with creating the Baroque style of sculpture.
As one scholar has commented, "What Shakespeare is to drama, Bernini may be to sculpture: the first pan-European sculptor whose name is instantaneously identifiable with a particular manner and vision, and whose influence was inordinately powerful...."In addition, he was a painter (mostly small canvases in oil) and a man of the theater: he wrote, directed and acted in plays (mostly Carnival satires), for which he designed stage sets and theatrical machinery. He produced designs as well for a wide variety of decorative art objects including lamps, tables, mirrors, and even coaches.
As architect and city planner, he designed secular buildings, churches, chapels, and public squares, as well as massive works combining both architecture and sculpture, especially elaborate public fountains and funerary monuments and a whole series of temporary structures (in stucco and wood) for funerals and festivals. His broad technical versatility, boundless compositional inventiveness and sheer skill in manipulating marble ensured that he would be considered a worthy successor of Michelangelo, far outshining other sculptors of his generation. His talent extended beyond the confines of sculpture to a consideration of the setting in which it would be situated; his ability to synthesize sculpture, painting, and architecture into a coherent conceptual and visual whole has been termed by the late art historian Irving Lavin the "unity of the visual arts".
1620s: David and Apollo
Gianlorenzo Bernini sculpted this life-sized sculpture of David for Pope Paul V’s nephew during the Counter-Reformation, when the Catholic religion was being challenged by Protestantism.
Portrayed at the moment of battle, David infringes forcefully on the viewer’s space. The sculpture captures David as he launches the stone at the giant Goliath. There is a lot of movement in this sculpture with David bending at the waist and his arms twisted to one side. David’s clothing twists dramatically around his body accentuating the power David is putting behind the stone. At his feet lays his discarded armor. His face is full of emotion and he seems more human-like, more relatable. David shows intense determination with his clenched jaw and furrowed brow. The energy and tension of David’s body activates the space around him implying the existence of an opponent.
The sculpture of Apollo and Daphne is the last of Bernini's work commissioned by the Borghese family, and remains one of his most popular sculptures. The influence of antique sculptures (Apollo of Belvedere) and of contemporary paintings (such as those by Guido Reni) are clearly seen in this masterpiece.
1647-1652: Ecstasy of Saint Teresa
« Le Bernin, ah ! le délicieux Bernin [...]. Il est puissant et exquis, une verve toujours prête, une ingéniosité sans cesse en éveil, une fécondité pleine de grâce et de magnificence ! ... »
1648-1651: Fontana dei Quatro Fiumi (Fountain of Four Rivers)
Public fountains in Rome served multiple purposes: first, they were highly needed sources of water for neighbors in the centuries prior to home plumbing. Second, they were monuments to the papal patrons.
The circumstances of how Bernini won the commission of this public moment are described as follows in Filippo Baldinucci's The life of Cavaliere Bernini (1682):
1665: King Louis XIV
According to French diarist, a steward at the court of Louis XIV Paul Fréart de Chantelou's diary, the process of selecting suitable marble block took several days to accomplish, and the bust took just over three months to carve.
While searching for a block of marble there was some discussion with members of the court about whether or not Bernini would make a full body statue or a bust. Bernini began drawing after the marble block had been selected.
However, it seems that once he had done this initial work, Bernini chose to work only during sittings with the king. His pupil, Giulio Cartari, began work on carving down the chosen block of marble (and would later do much of the drapery work), and then Bernini took over, taking forty days to complete the work. He had hoped to have twenty sittings with the king during the final carving process, but in fact there were thirteen of around one hour each.
The bust is modelled heavily after an earlier bust that Bernini made almost a decade ago of Francesco d'Este, the duke of Modena, and other than the fact that Louis' cloak was slightly longer horizontally a person would not be able to tell that one was of higher nobility.
Bernini's son and biographer, Domenico Bernini, noted the artistic arguments of his father as to why the King agreed to sit for such a length of time, explaining that the artist preferred to work from Truth rather than rely on the unnecessary imaginative extras that would creep into working from sketches. Equally, Bernini wanted to see the king, as he did many of this other sitters, not remaining immobile, but sitting and talking in such ways that Bernini could capture all his characteristics.
Such an approach, with Bernini wishing to capture the figure in physical and psychological motion, was a common element of Bernini’s work: “mere resemblance is inadequate. One must express what goes on in the heads of heroes,” Bernini is recorded as saying. Bernini also observed the king in other locations - playing tennis, resting after lunch, or simply walking around court.
Art historian and biographer of artists Filippo Baldinucci records numerous events that advertise Bernini’s supposed influence on French culture, including one incident where Bernini rearranged the King’s hair to give greater exposure to the King’s brow - the new stye was apparently followed by all at the French court, and became known as the Bernini modification. Contemporary art historians are sceptical of this however; Jeanne Zarucchi claims that the alteration was deliberate, altering the shape of the King's head in an unflattering manner.
But King Louis XIV's hairstyle apart, what if Gianlorenzo had tried harder to please the Sun King? What if the Great Bernini had designed Louvre?