Autobiographical Memor of
from “The New York Time” by Cardee Morrison
"I wonder what children think about war. Having lived through World War
II, I will never be able to forget those experiences. I lived with my parents
and three sisters in the town of Subiaco, in central Italy, about 80 km east
of Rome. Our house was a huge building, an old hotel that had been
occupied by the Germans. When I heard the American bombing, I would
always hide under the massive table where tree trunks were cut for my
father’s furniture business."
Already at seven years old, Gina has clear and precise likes and dislikes:
the kids she dislikes must dread her terrible tricks. She attends
a teacher-training school with fairly good results, especially
in gymnastics, music and drawing.
After the war, having lost their house under
the bombings, the six members of the Lollobrigida
family move to Rome, living all in one room. Being
evacuees, they ate what they managed to scrape up.
Gina was the privileged one of the family: she
studied painting and sculpture at the art school.
Her sisters Giuliana and Maria worked as
usherettes in a cinema theatre to help her study.
Rome: Gina at art school, where she won
a scholarship. She tried to complete her education
despite constant offers of work in films.
Gina’s great aunt Chelidonia Lollobrigida,
unquestionably the most prestigious representative of
the family: the oldest woman in Italy and a real
phenomenon. Up to four months before passing
away, she was still lucid and witty. We can only
hope that similar good fortune awaits Gina and
grandson Dimitri, who here is fascinated by the
A much discussed and publicized meeting between Gina and Marilyn in New York. Gina got to know Marilyn better a few years later
in Hollywood. She found her a very sensitive and vulnerable woman and was very fond of her. Headlines from American newspapers of the
period: “No Boxing Match Between Blonde and Brunette Bombshells”, “Lollo’s Diplomacy Confused Americans”, “New York Crazy
About Gina. Bogart Prefers Gina to Marilyn”. An article in the edition of “Time” with the Italian actress on the cover, quoted Humphrey
Bogart saying that Gina Lollobrigida made Marilyn Monroe look like Shirley Temple. After a visit to the White House, where Gina was
received by President Eisenhower, the US dailies went right overboard: “Anti-H Bomb Hits New York”, “Ike and Lollo. Eisenhower
to Lollobrigida: delighted to see Italy in such good shape!”.
Paris: Marlene Dietrich visiting her friend
Gina during rehearsals for the Red Cross Show held
every year in Monte Carlo. Dietrich had been the
star the year before and very kindly gave Gina, who
was suffering a little from stage fright, some friendly
artistic advice. Despite the moment of panic, the
actress set a new box office record at the Sporting
Club in Monte Carlo, where she was presented to
the public by Martin Carol and Kirk Douglas.
With her lyrical soprano voice, Gina sang in
charity concerts. In the film Beautiful but
Dangerous, where she played the part of Lina
sang the famous aria Vissi d’Arte
from Puccini’s Tosca with the Orchestra of the
Gina and Maria Callas on a trip in the yacht
of Aristotle Onassis. Maria was enthusiastic about
Gina’s voice and urged her to embark on a career as
an opera singer. Gina was somewhat reluctant
because this would have meant giving up all her
other artistic activities, which she had no wish to
The Painters and Gina
In response to an idea put forward by Walter Pozzi,
thirty-five painters from a whole range of different schools,
asked Gina to pose for them in Milan for four days, morning and
afternoon. Gina agreed but was somewhat selfconscious about
being analyzed in detail by so many eyes. Bruno Cassinari,
Dadi Orsi, Aligi Sassu, Mario Marinelli, Silvio Consadori,
Bettina Tea, Barbieri, Cartolani, Guido Tallone, Ajmone, Dova,
Frassati, Giampaolo Ravazzi, Parmeggiani, Veronesi, Carpi,
Cinci, Mondaini, Ghiglia, Vittore, Bartolini, Bracchi, Dal Forno
and Freccia were among the painters invoved. As we can see,
there were a great many different schools represented including
naturalism, impressionism, the 19th-century style, and even
abstract art. Gina still owns the portraits produced by Dova,
Ghiglia, Mondaini, Barbieri and Tallone.
Moscow: Ilja Glazunov toasts with Gina after the first
charcoal portrait produced in his home.
Rome: Gina Lollobrigida posing for the Soviet painter Ilja
Glazunov. Gina, who was already very famous at the time, helped
Glazunov at the beginning of his difficult career and they became
friends. Forty years later, their friendship is stronger than ever.
The Meeting with Manzù
Gina posing for Giacomo Manzù. The work was never to leave the
master’s studio because he destroyed it before completing the hands.
Gina had been prevented from returning to pose by work pressure and Manzù
took it very badly indeed.
Rome. Gina shows him the clay head of her son Milko Jr., aged seven
months. Giacomo Manzù, who was not one to stand on ceremony, found her
work very interesting. He later encouraged her to go on with her work as a
sculptress and to satisfy her love of art.
Twelve years later Manzù was still interested in portraying Gina. The
result was a new life-size sculpture, one of the master’s last works before his
illness and death. Watching him at work, Gina was fascinated and disturbed.
She felt a change in herself, an irresistible desire to devote herself entirely once
again to sculpture, the first love she had repressed and abandoned for so long.
Thanks to Manzù, her strongest artistic impulse had since found fulfillment.
Her life changed once again, now being centered mainly on Pietrasanta,
where Gina produces her works, first in clay, then in plaster, and finally in
bronze or marble.
Gina awarded the Gold Medal
by the Paris City Council
In accordance with a motion passed by the City Council, the Mayor of Paris
Jacques Chirac awarded Gina Lollobrigida the Médaille de Vermeil de la Cité
de Paris for the photographic exhibition held by the actress at the Musée
Carnavalet within the framework of the “photography month” organized
by the Council together with Paris Audiovisuel. The citation stressed “her
courageous aesthetic challenge and the deeply human content of her work”.
Even the critics, so often prejudiced against actresses embarking on a new
profession, were greatly impressed by the images captured by “la Lollo”.
As the authoritative “Le Monde” observed, Gina “has the eye of a Cartier
Bresson. She is talented and full of energy, and her photographs make an
overwhelming impact. She is truly a great artist”.
In Paris Gina is decorated by the French Minister of Culture, Jacques Lang, “Officier des Arts et des Lettres” for her merits as an artist.
Awarded the Legion of Honor from
After complimenting Gina on her sculpture, French President François Mitterrand, awarded her the Legion of Honor for artistic merit,
describing her as an “artiste de valeur”.
Republic of San Marino
Stamp of 1996
Gina Lollobrigida designed this stamp selected for the annual
European issue of the Republic of San Marino on the theme
of famous women. The San Marino Department of Philately
and Numismatics decided to have one famous woman portrayed
by another equally famous. So it was that Gina Lollobrigida produced a portrait of Mother Teresa of Calcutta, issued
on 22nd March 1996 as a 750 lire stamp, sales of which broke
all records for that year. This stamp was also awarded the Saint
Gabriel’s Prize for Religious Philately. Gina donated her fee for this
work to Mother Teresa’s humanitarian organizations.
“France Soir”. Lollobrigida, Mother Teresa: the Same Battle.
Gina Lollobrigida took Mother Teresa by the hand and they both
appeared before the cameras of Italian television to make an appeal
for the disinherited of the world.
This moving image shows the two
women united in their efforts for this universal cause during their
appearance on the small screen.
The actress and the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize found words
that went straight to the heart and awakened
The goal of their commitment is summed up in the title of the
program, “A Sign for Life”..
Gina Lollobrigida Honorary Member of the
Florence Academy of Arts
Gina Lollobrigida has been nominated “Accademica d’Onore” in the
category of Humanistic Subject and Science by the “Accademia delle Arti
del Disegno”, Florence.
Gina Lollobrigida has provided, during her long career, significant and original contributions to the cinematographic art, dedicating her life and
talent to the prestige of Italian cinematography, representing it honourably
in Italy and in the rest of the world.
Ambasciatrice della FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations)
Rome. In the great hall where the World Food Day is
celebrated every year, Gina thanks all the delegates after being appointed
Goodwill Ambassadress of the FAO, the food and agriculture
organization of the United Nations.
Jacques Diouf, Carla Fracci and other personalities applaud an
excited Gina Lollobrigida donating her first sculpture The World for
Children, 2,35 meters tall and representing world hunger,
to the FAO of which she is ambassadress.
Iesolo. Over 500,000 people showed up to
applaud and celebrate her during an important event
on the Venetian beach where a two-kilometer stretch
of seafront was named “Gina Lollobrigida, Italian
Subiaco. The inauguration of a marble plaque to mark the birthplace of Gina Lollobrigida for
posterity. A long flight of steps with a deep red carpet
leads up to the now historic building and a bow of
pink tulle marks the window of her bedroom. “I am
particularly delighted and honored to be present at
this event, something that normally takes place...
after”, was Gina’s witty observation.
Town Council of Pietrasanta. City of Art – Noble City since 1841. The
Mayor, passing the Town Council resolution N° 82 of November 30th,
2007, awards “The Honorary Citizenship” to Gina Lollobrigida, for having
contributed to promote throughout the world the city of Pietrasanta as center
of the arts.
Gina on stamps: one of the few real awards
The first in Italy and in the world to receive four stamps of the Philately
Issue of the Republic of San Marino. “I’m happily touched because with the issue
of these stamps, the Republic of San Marino recognizes the value of the work produced
throughout my life, entirely dedicated to art”.
Seville Expo. Gina’s First Exhibition
Her debut as a sculptor came in Seville with a bronze of Living Together,
a child riding an eagle.
She was the most photographed of all the Italians at the opening of the Expo.
Moreover, it was the most wonderful day of Gina Lollobrigida’s life, as
President Mitterrand congratulated her on her work and awarded her the
Legion d’Honneur for her artistic merits.
Italy abroad still means Gina Lollobrigida. She was
the most photographed, the most in demand, the most acclaimed, and
perhaps, in her vulnerability, the most human with her eagle and child
exhibited alongside a Ferrari and Moser’s bicycle.
Gina debutta a Mosca al Museo
Figurative A.S. Puškin
After the exhibition at the Pushkin Museum, she’ll live for the art.
A few weeks after the opening of Gina Lollobrigida’s sculpture exhibition at the Moscow Museum of Figurative Arts A.S. Pushkin, the flow of visitors
continues unceasingly, visitors who fondly thank the Italian artist: “In
front of such beauty, life starts to smile to you again”, writes a female visitor
in the guest book, and more so: “Her sculptures captivate me. Above all
La Primavera, writes the seven-year-old Katya.
The director of the museum,
Irina Antonova, was positively impressed by the enthusiasm and fervor with
which both the public and the critics have welcomed Gina Lollobrigida’s
It’s been a long time since the Italian Hall of the Museum of Figurative Arts
hadn’t seen such a crowd of journalists. The press conference, held on the eve of
the varnishing, was hosted by one of the worldwide legends of cinema.
Four thousand visitors a day have
admired the works of the artist and during the weekends the
numbers would rise to six thousand! This success has deeply touched
the artist who wasn’t expecting so much.
Gina Lollobrigida’s visit to Moscow ended with a meeting with Vladimir
Putin in his residence of Novo Ogarevo.
During the meeting, president Putin, relating to the
sculpture, The World for Children, has also praised Ms Lollobrigida’s efforts
in her capacity as FAO Ambassador, emphasizing how this activity can be of great
example to others and how the beauty, that emanates from her works, is a source
of inspiration for life.
Gina at the Musée de la Monnaie of Paris
Paris. Gina enters one of the most
prestigious museums: the Musée de la Monnaie.
An unexpected success, the exhibition was extended
until January 2004.
The monumental sculpture The World for
Children is ready to be set up in the entry hall
of the Museum.
Gina is awarded the most important international
decoration for an artist: Commandeur de l’Ordre
des Arts et des Lettres from French Minister
of Culture, Jean-Jacques Aillaigon.