Sofia Loren. Marriage Italian Style, 1964
Gelatin silver print
6 x 9 ½ inches
The pioneering German photojournalist Alfred Eisenstaedt (1898–1995) raised to prominence in the mid-20th century as a staff photographer for Life magazine. Eisenstaedt joined the publication in 1935, soon after immigrating to the United States in order to flee the oppression felt under Nazi Germany. Whether photographing heads of state, royalty, movie stars or ordinary people, Eisenstaedt is recognized for his ability to capture memorable impromptu moments. His images have been featured on 86 covers of Life magazine, for which he successfully completed more than 2,500 assignments over the span of his prolific career. Eisenstaedt has been exhibited widely in renowned museums and galleries and his works are held in prominent collections internationally.
This full-length black-and-white portrait of Sophia Loren is one of numerous photographs Eisenstaedt took on the set of Vittorio De Sica’s celebrated 1964 dramatic comedy Marriage Italian Style. Loren, who in the film plays a seductive yet lunatic prostitute who lures a successful businessman into marrying her, is here shown resting against a decorated wall along a desolate hall way. Dramatically lit and glamorously adorned with jewelry and a see-through striped nightgown, the sultry diva provocatively stares into the camera. This iconic image, of one of Eisenstaedt’s preferred and most recurrent subjects, was featured on the cover of Life magazine for the September 16, 1966 issue.