12 February 2019

12 February

Claudia Mori 

Film star who married pop icon Adriano Celentano

The actress, singer and later television producer Claudia Mori, married for more than half a century to Italy’s all-time biggest-selling recording artist, Adriano Celentano, was born on this day in 1944 in Rome.  She and Celentano married in 1964 when she was 20 and they remain together. Mori, who made her big screen debut at the age of 15 and went on to make more than 20 movies, shared a Sanremo Festival win with Celentano in 1970. Read more…


Franco Zeffirelli – film director

Shakespeare adaptations made director a household name

A director of film, opera and television, Franco Zeffirelli, was born on this day in Florence in 1923. Zeffirelli, who received an honorary knighthood in Britain in 2004, first became famous after his 1968 film version of Romeo and Juliet, casting two teenagers in the title roles and filmed Shakespeare’s tragedy against the backdrop of 15th century buildings in Serravalle in the Veneto region. Zeffirelli’s first film as a solo director had been Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, starring Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor in 1967.  He later began working in the theatre, directing Maria Callas in La Traviata and Tosca. Read more…


Michelangelo Cerquozzi – painter

Battle scenes brought fame and riches to Baroque artist

Michelangelo Cerquozzi, the Baroque painter, was born on this day in 1602 in Rome.  He was to become famous for his paintings of battles, earning himself the nickname of Michelangelo delle Battaglie - Michelangelo of the Battles.  Born into the wealthy family of a leather merchant, he began his artistic training in the studio of Giuseppe Cesari, with whom the young Caravaggio trained.  Read more…


Lazzaro Spallanzani – priest and scientist

18th century biologist who pioneered artificial insemination 

Lazzaro Spallanzani, the first scientist to interpret the process of digestion and the first to carry out a successful artificial insemination, died on this day in 1799 in Pavia.  Spallanzani made important contributions to the experimental study of bodily functions and animal reproduction. His investigations into the development of microscopic life in nutrient culture solutions paved the way for the later research of Louis Pasteur.  Read more… 


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