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Franco Mormando
Professor of Italian, Affiliate Faculty Dept. of History

romance languages and literatures

Education and Academic Degrees

Ph.D., M.A., Harvard University; B.A. (summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa), Columbia University

S.T.L. (licentiate), M. Div., Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley; Biennio di Filosofia, Gregorian University, Rome

Research Areas

The Religious Culture of Italy (Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque); History of Preaching, 15th-17th Centuries; Gian Lorenzo Bernini; Bernardino of Siena; Social Context and Literary / Religious Sources of Italian Art (Renaissance and Baroque); the Bubonic Plague in European Society.

Honors and Awards

Cavaliere (Knight) in the Ordine della Stella d'Italia awarded by the President of the Republic of Italy, October 2005, in recognition of achievement in the promotion of Italian language and culture.

The Howard R. Marraro Prize for Distinguished Scholarship in Italian History, conferred January 2001, by the American Catholic Historical Association for The Preacher's Demons (Univ. of Chicago Press, 1999).


Bernini: His Life and His Rome

Bernini: His Life and His Rome. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2011.

Piety and Plague: From Byzantium to the Baroque

Piety and Plague: From Byzantium to the Baroque, co-editor. Truman State University Press, Sixteenth Century Essays and Studies, 2007.

Hope and Healing: Painting in Italy in a Time of Plague, 1500-1800

Hope and Healing: Painting in Italy in a Time of Plague, 1500-1800, co-editor. Exhibition catalogue, Worcester Art Museum, 2005.

Saints and Sinners: Caravaggio and the Baroque

Saints and Sinners: Caravaggio and the Baroque Image. Exhibition catalogue, McMullen Museum of Art, Boston College, 1999.

Recent Articles and Book Chapters

"Nudus Nudum Christum Sequi: The Franciscans and Differing Interpretations of Male Nakedness in Fifteenth-Century Italy," Fifteenth Century Studies 33 (2008): 171-197.

Recent Papers and Presentations

"Playing with Fire: Did Bernini's Ecstasy of St. Teresa Cross a Seventeenth-Century Line of Decorum?" Renaissance Society of America Annual Conference, Boston, March 31, 2016.

"The Evolving Profile of the 'Witch' in Early Renaissance Europe: The Trial of Matteuccia of Todi, 1428." Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 21st Interdisciplinary Conference, February 6, 2016, Scottsdale, AZ.

"Bernini, Impresario." Casa Italiana, New York University, February 22, 2016, sponsored by Salon / Sanctuary Concerts.

"Michelangelo: The Life and Works of the Renaissance Genius." Presentation for the Docents of the Phoenix Art Museum, in conjunction with the exhibition, "Michelangelo: Sacred and Profane. Drawings from the Casa Buonarroti, Florence." February 5, 2016. 

"How to Become a Celebrity Public Speaker: Instructions from Bernardino of Siena, Popular Preacher of Quattrocento Italy," Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies, 21st Interdisciplinary Conference, February 7, 2015, Scottsdale, AZ.

"Bernini: Impresario Supreme of Baroque Rome." Yale University, Institute of Sacred Music, April 26, 2014.

Bernini: His Life and His Rome: lecture given at The Kimbell Art Museum, Fort, Worth, Texas, March 2, 2013 and The Phoenix Art Museum, Phoenix, Arizona, October 23, 2013.

"Bernini's Models in Clay: What the Biographical Sources Reveal," paper given in the symposium, "Bernini Beyond Clay," Harvard University, the Mahindra Humanities Center, Nov. 16, 2012.

"Bernini and the Baroque Transformation of the Catholic Imagination," public lecture, Villanova University, Oct. 2, 2012, sponsored by the Villanova Office of the Vice President for Mission and Ministry.

"Bernini and His Rome," public lecture at the Italian Institute for Culture, San Francisco, Feb. 17, 2012.

"A Pope's Banquet and a Jesuit's Oration for a Newly Converted Queen: Alexander VII, Gian Paolo Oliva, and Christina of Sweden, Dec. 26, 1655," Sixteenth Century Conference, Geneva, May 28, 2009.

"Nothing as It Seems: Annotations (Reconstructive and Deconstructive) upon Domenico Bernini's Vita del Cav. Gio. Lorenzo Bernini." Renaissance Society of America Annual Meeting, Chicago, April 4, 2008.

"Raphael's Disputa at the Vatican: Neither Disputation nor Eucharist," UCLA Center for Medieval & Renaissance Studies, Mellon Fdtn Sawyer Seminar Series, "Disputation: Arguing In and Out of the University," April 22, 2008.

Franco Mormando

Contact Information

Boston College
Department of Romance Languages and Literatures
Lyons Hall 204B
140 Commonwealth Avenue
Chestnut Hill, Mass. 02467-3804

Phone: 617-552-6346
FAX: 617-552-2064

CV (abridged)

CV (complete)

Personal Website


Current Courses

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