Rudolph Valentino

image for Rudolph Valentino
Exhibition Label
In 1921 silent film actor Rudolph Valentino vaulted from bit player to matinee idol in the hugely popular melodrama The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Playing Julio, a dashing Argentine who meets a tragic end on a World War I battlefield, Valentino set pulses racing with his smoldering love scenes, dramatic fight sequences, and an electrifying tango. Critics praised his performance, and fans packed movie houses to see Hollywood's darkly handsome sex symbol. In subsequent films such as The Sheik (1921) and Blood and Sand (1922), Valentino burnished his reputation as a star of unrivaled box office popularity. His untimely death in 1926 only enhanced his legend, and Valentino is still regarded as one of the silver screen's greatest lovers. In this atmospheric portrait by Johan Hagemeyer, Valentino appears costumed for his role in the The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
Johan Hagemeyer, 1884 - 1962
Rudolph Valentino, 6 May 1895 - 23 Aug 1926
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; Alan and Lois Fern Acquisition Fund
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
c. 1921
Object number
Rudolph Valentino: Male
Rudolph Valentino: Performing Arts\Performer\Actor\Movie
Gelatin silver print
Image/Sheet: 23.2 x 18.9cm (9 1/8 x 7 7/16")
Mat: 55.9 x 40.6cm (22 x 16")
National Portrait Gallery