Day 232 of Colourisation Project – December 25
Challenge: to publish daily a colourised photo that has some significance around the day of publication.
Italian writer and poet, Gabriele D’Annunzio, called her “the personification of Venus on earth” and wrote that she was able “to create with her art, a rare harmony between her physical beauty and the passion of her voice.”
Born on this day, December 25, 1874 in Viterbo, Lazio, Italy, Lina Cavalieri was an opera singer at the turn of the nineteenth century migrating to silent screen actress in 1915 at the age of 41.
Today’s colourisation subject was once regarded as “The Most Beautiful Woman in the World.” Consequently, she was one of the most photographed stars of her time. She is also one of the forgotten women in the world of opera and film for her beauty overshadowed any artistic talents she had. Audiences flocked to see her rather than hear her.
Her rapid rise from the slums of Viterbo, via the cafés of Rome’s Piazza Navona and the music halls of Paris, including Folies Bergère, to prima donna at the New York Metropolitan Opera opposite the great Enrico Caruso; saw Cavalieri become one of the queens of the Belle Époque.
Tragically, she lost her life on February 7, 1944 during a World War II Allied bombing raid that destroyed her home in the countryside of Fiesole, just outside Florence. She was 69 years old.
“When I wanted something badly, I always achieved it.” Lina Cavalieri