«Gente di ferro e di valore armata». Postille al tema degli Uomini Illustri, e qualche riflessione marginale sulla pittura profana tra Medioevo e Rinascimento
Paolo di Simone
The cult of the past is a very common topos not only in the humanistic Quattrocento but also in the Middle Ages, and it represents a strong propaganda tool in profane art associated with astronomical and moralistic allegories, frequent in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. This essay investigates some profane themes – linked with contemporary literature – in court art between the late Middle Ages and early Renaissance. In particular, it deals with secular cycles of Illustrious Men and Triumphs, following continuity and transformations from older evidence (often lost) to their presence in proto-humanistic contexts in Italy before the Quattrocento, when these typical themes are documented everywhere. Furthermore, it discusses the relationships between images, words and memory; and the propagation of Illustrious Genealogies in the late Trecento.