Elogia Virorum Bellica Virtute Illustrium
, published in 1575, was the
first published work to provide illustrations of its biographical
subjects. The subjects in this first work are mostly military and
political figures. Tobias Stimmer was already a well known painter and
wood-engraver when Pietro Perna, a Basle publisher, commisioned him to
make these drawings based on the portraits that Giovio had in his
possession. Biographies in the first volume include Romulus, Hannibal,
Alexander the Great, Columbus, Cortez and many contemporary leaders.
There are 129 portraits in the first volume with 10 empty borders.
Elogia Virorum Literis Illustrium was published two years later, also
using Stimmer woodcuts. This second collection consists of literary
figures including Petrarch, Sir Thomas More and Machiavelli. Jakob
Burckhardt described these collections as "the first comprehensive and
generally accessible source for the likeness of persons in whom the
contemporary learned public was interested."