four cultural icons celebrated in 2024

Painting, music, sport or politics… Each year, the Institut national France-Mémoire makes an annual selection of personalities to be commemorated. It is based on the anniversaries of the deaths and births of French personalities.

France Télévisions – Culture Editorial



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The singer Charles Aznavour was born a century ago.  (BERNARD PASCUCCI / INA / AFP)

They were born 500 years ago years, 200 years or one century. They are linked to sport, politics or culture. Every year, French personalities who have marked History are celebrated through exhibitions and commemorations. The France-Mémoire National Institute has released its top 50 in which there are four major artists : a poet, a novelist, a singer and a filmmaker.

1 Pierre de Ronsard, born 500 years ago years

The bust of the poet Pierre de Ronsard in the Queen's gallery, at the Château de Blois.  (MANUEL COHEN / AFP)

Pierre de Ronsard was born 500 years ago years, in September 1524. Nicknamed the “Prince of poets”, he is with Joachim du Bellay the main figure of the Pléiade, a group assembled in the 16th century century. Pierre de Ronsard imposes a new style, a new versification and even returns to ancient forms. At only 26 years ago, he published THE Odes (1550), then two years later, The loves (1952), a collection which contains the famous Sweetheart let see if the Rose… Poems that are sometimes engaged, rural, bucolic, they deal with youth, time and love. Pierre de Ronsard rests today at the Priory of Saint-Cosme in Tours, in Indre-et-Loire.

On the occasion of the 500 years after its birth, a festival called “RonsArt” was organized in Tours by several French universities. Presented in the form of conferences and artistic performances, the festival (10 to 13 September) will explore the relationships between the poet and the arts of his time : music, architecture, sculpture, painting and spectacle.

2The Countess of Ségur, died 150 years ago years

"Portrait of the writer Sophie Rostopchine (1799-1874), Countess of Ségur" by the artist Orest Adamovich Kiprensky in 1823. (PHOTO JOSSE / AFP)

Her hair is straight or curly, brown or blonde, short or long. Her multiple appearances, available in novels, comic strips and films, bear witness to the success experienced by Sophie de Réan, the main character of the trilogy comprising Sophie’s misfortune, Model Little Girls And Holidays published between 1858 and 1859. This child, whose adventures are punctuated by discoveries and amusements of all kinds, but also punishments and punishments, was invented by Sophie Rostopchine, a French woman of letters of Russian origin. Better known as the Countess of Ségur, she published her first stories, The new fairy talesat only 57 years. Registered in 1855 in the collection “Railway Library”, these books will very quickly be stored in the “Pink Library”, the color we still know today.

The Countess of Ségur died 150 years ago years old and rests in the cemetery of Pluneret, in Morbihan. Objects that belonged to the countess’s granddaughters, which inspired the writing of the Model little girls, are exhibited in the museum of Verfeil (Haute-Garonne), town in which they lived for several years. Another way to pay tribute to her, Arlette de Pitray, the great-granddaughter of the Countess of Ségur, created a museum dedicated to the works of the Countess, in Aube in the Château des Nouettes (Orne).

3 Charles Aznavour, born 100 years ago years

The year 2024 marks the century anniversary of his birth. Charles Aznavour grew up in a family sensitive to the arts, particularly music and theater. It is a world that he will frequent very early within the School for Children of the Performing Arts, when he is not even ten yet years. He then turned to music, an art in which he would subsequently shine. Charles Aznavour is one of the most listened to French singers in the world. Yesterday again (1964), Bohemian (1965), Take me (1967), For Me Wonderful (1963)… He achieved more than 51 albums and sold more than 180 million records worldwide. Apart from music, Charles Aznavour has also distinguished himself in the seventh art. He appeared in front of the cameras of François Truffaut, Claude Chabrol and Jean-Pierre Mocky to, in total, participate in more than 60 feature films.

On his birthday, the 25th may 2024, a major symphonic recital will be organized at the Grand Rex, in Paris, with Jules Grison on vocals. Cinemas will also put him in the spotlight with a biopic called Mr Aznavourwhich is scheduled for release on the 23rd october. It is directed by Mehdi Idir and Grand Corps Malade, with Charles Aznavour played by Tahar Rahim.

4 Marcel Pagnol, died 50 years ago

The writer, filmmaker and producer Marcel Pagnol, (LIDO/SIPA / SIPA)

Marcel Pagnol died half a century ago. Born in 1895 in Aubagne (Bouches-du-Rhône), he became famous with his play Topazpresented in Berlin in 1927. After founding his own production company and setting up his studios in Marseille, Marcel Pagnol signed several films including Regain (1937) and The Baker’s Wife (1938). Subsequently, he was elected to the French Academy in 1946 and gradually moved away from the seventh art to devote his activity to literature. He publishes his Childhood memories in 1956, which include The glory of my father And My mother’s castle. Six years later, the two volumes of Water from the hills : Jean de Florette And Manon of the sources.

To show him respect, a museum was originally planned to open this year in the town of Allauch (Bouches-du-Rhône), where the filmmaker and writer spent many summers, recounted in his works. The museum will finally open in 2026. In the meantime, an animated biopic directed by Sylvain Chomet, and named Marcel and Mr. Pagnol, is currently in production. At the beginning of the year 2024 will release the audiobook Childhood souvenirs, where the actor Philippe Caubère delivers a reading of the work of Marcel Pagnol. From April In 2024, around sixty theatrical performances based on the artist’s works will take place in Paris and Marseille.

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