HOMILLUSTRES. Illustrious men. Metamorphoses and challenges of a multimemorial repertoire, Italy/Europe, 1300-1700

  • Sections: Middle Ages and Modern and Contemporary periods
  • Director: Concetta Bianca, professor, Università degli Studi di Firenze; Cécile Caby , professor, University of Lyon II – CIHAM; Élisabeth Crouzet-Pavan, Professor, University of Paris IV-Sorbonne – Center Roland Mousnier; Clémence Revest, researcher at the CNRS – Center Roland Mousnier


Whether it takes the form of biographical notes, series of painted portraits, collections of epitaphs or simple lists of names, the imagination of great men took over the learned and artistic creation of Italy between the end of the Middle Ages and the beginning of modernity. In a space that was the cultural laboratory of Renaissance Europe, this memorial repertoire stands out as a major motif that brings together various categories (devotional, courtly, humanist) and brings together literary and artistic practices. Alongside men of power and war, writers and artists appear, and, following the illustrious figures of past centuries, certain contemporaries soon find their place there. At the heart of this deployment of heroic figures is the affirmation of a new historical consciousness whose models we would like to develop, their uses and evolutions, by an unprecedented global approach that will allow comparisons with other European spaces.

The project will be carried out from four perspectives : 

  • The development and staging of a mythology of the present time;  
  • The renewed practice of religious biography under the impulse of humanist culture; 
  • The case of Vite di Uomini illustri de Vespasiano da Bisticci; 
  • The rise of a polymorphic repertoire of illustrious contemporary scholars.


Renaissance; portraits; biographies; memory; humanism; uomini illustri    


The programme is a scientific programme of the École française de Rome and research is carried out in partnership with several other institutions:

Calendar of events for 2017

In 2017, a first meeting is planned:

  • October 6, 2017, École française de Rome, editorial meeting “Autour des Vite de Vespasiano da Bisticci”

Expected results

  • Organization of symposia and workshops
  • Production of books and collective files

Page translated from French, 2020/11/16

Laboratoire International Associé (LIA)