Virna Lisi

Pencil Portrait by Antonio Bosano.

Virna Lisi Pencil Portrait
To see a larger preview, please click the image.

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The quality of the prints are at a much higher level compared to the image shown on the left.


A3 Pencil Print-Price £45.00-Purchase

A4 Pencil Print-Price £30.00-Purchase

*Limited edition run of 250 prints only*

All Pencil Prints are printed on the finest Bockingford Somerset Velvet 255 gsm paper.

P&P is not included in the above prices.


Virna Lisi was one of a plethora of European movie beauties who proved over the course of her long career, that she was capable of more than just visual performances.

My earliest recollection of her talent for light comedy was a co-starring role in How to murder your wife (1965), alongside Jack Lemmon and Terry Thomas. The film would have been amusing without its witty script – just the thought alone of wanting to kill her off would have been hilarious enough for any red blooded male. Blonde or brunette, it really didn’t matter – you’d notice when she was in your orbit!

She was born Virna Lisa Pieralisi in Ancona on November 8 1936, the daughter of a marble exporter, and began appearing in the Italian cinema at the age of only 17, having been discovered by two Neapolitan producers ; she was soon also working extensively on both stage and television, and her beauty secured her a spot advertising a brand of toothpaste with the slogan: “con quella bocca può dire ciò che vuole” (with that mouth, she can say whatever she wants). Cast more for her looks than talent at the onset, her early pictures included ‘The Doll That Took the Town’ (1958), ‘Don’t Tempt the Devil’ (1963) and the Italian-made spectacle, ‘Duel of the Titans’ (1961).

She also made several films in France, including ‘La Tulipe Noire’ (Black Tulip, 1964), alongside Alain Delon, and before she was 30 she had come to the attention of Hollywood.

The pert and sexy star also made a decorative dent in Tinseltown comedy as a tempting blue-eyed blonde starring opposite Jack Lemmon in ‘How to Murder Your Wife’ (1965), and appearing with Tony Curtis in ‘Not with My Wife, You Don’t!’ (1966).

Disatisfied with the lightweight roles perennially on offer, she would take the bold step of buying out her contract with United Artists and returning to Europe, whereupon an enduring career in both film and television, principally in her native Italy, would beckon. She did not entirely abandon English-language roles, for example co-starring with Anthony Quinn in Stanley Kramer’s The Secret of Santa Vittoria (1969), in which an Italian wine-producing village conceals a million bottles of wine from the Germans in the aftermath of the fall of Mussolini .

Confined to the same type of glamour roles here, she returned to Europe within a couple of years but hardly fared better in such mediocre movies as ‘Arabella’ (1967). In later decades, however, a career renaissance occurred for Virna. She began to be perceived as more than just a tasty dish, giving a wide variety of mature, award-winning performances. It all culminated in the role of a lifetime with the film,‘Queen Margot’ (1994), in which she played a marvelously malevolent Caterina de’ Medici and captured both the César and Cannes Film Festival awards, not to mention the Italian Silver Ribbon award. She would subsequently reign supreme as a character lead and support player.