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ArtCodex atelier del codice miniato

Francesco Petrarca, Triumphs

ms. Strozzi 174
The Laurentian Library of Florence
Biblioteca Laurenziana di Firenze


Presentazione video del volume

Francesco Petrarca (Arezzo, 1304 – Arquà, 1374): Italian writer, poet, and humanist. He played an essential role in the development of Italian poetry in the vernacular. A friend of Giovanni Boccaccio and of powerful families, among which that of Visconti in Milan and of Colonna in Rome. The inspiration and muse of his literature was Laura, the young girl with whom Petrarch fell in love in Avignon in 1327 and who remained in the poet’s heart for all his life. The sweet and mellifluous figure of Laura is to be found in all of Petrarch’s compositions as though to characterize them by a precise scanning of the time. Among the works that have made the Poet famous there are the Songbook and the Triumphs.
Apollonio di Giovanni (Firenze 1415-1465): An Italian painter and illuminator. He was at the head of a flourishing workshop of marriage-chest decorators and illuminators. Apollonio’s style is reminiscent of the compositions of the Blessed Angelico and of the formal solutions of other Florentines, such as Filippo Lippi, Paolo Uccello, and Gentile da Fabriano. Among his later works, created in the fifteen years prior to his death, one recalls the illuminations for the Bucolics, the Georgics, and the Aeneid of Virgil, as well as for the Triumphs of Petrarch.
An elegant and refined codex: A famous work of the best-loved poet of the 15th century, Francesco Petrarca (in English, Petrarch), an array of full-page images, almost an album of photographs assembled in order to instruct and astonish, and then a series of elegant illuminations that comment the words of the text with the power of visual language immersed in the immediacy of the contemporary world: all of this gathered together in a volume full of fascination, and beautiful like a fairytale. A long experience as a painter, matured in a busy workshop that satisfied the demands of rich and powerful families in the production of domestic furniture such as armchairs and painted chests, is transferred with the same richness and refinement to the pages of a book. Apollonio di Giovanni was well known in Florence for his ability as a painter of high-quality wooden furnishings and for his elevated social level.
The Triumphs of Petrarch in the Laurentian Library of Florence: One very familiar with the mythological themes and classical poems, but also with the more modern authors, was above all Petrarch, the favorite also of the patrons. The triumph of love and of chastity was addressed in particular to the woman, preferably a young bride, whereas the heroic gestures were suitable for the celebration of the master.
The triumphs became also a subject of theatrical representations, parades, and masquerades, well known to all; they dealt with universal themes but lent themselves also to the subjectivity of the individual: love and then fame, time, and the inexorable death beneath the implacable vision of the divinity, tremendous in its judgement but reassuring in the hope of the soul’s salvation.
Sovereigns and illustrious people: An array of famous personalities, from Alexander the Great to Petrarch, from Boccaccio to Coluccio Salutati, constitutes a sort of album that seems to take on a life of its own. The arts, science, culture, poetry, civil and military power that such people represent are translated in an exceptional gallery and launch an extraordinary message. Just as the ancients placed the images of illustrious people in the entrance halls of their homes, and even in the thermal baths and libraries, so that all were invited to follow such examples of wisdom and virtue, so do these figures gaze at us, each alone on the page, isolated in their mission, while seeming to invite us as well to pursue the path of the good and of knowledge. Profound messages translated with a powerful and refined language, with an extreme elegance that reveals the full maturity of the illumination, fruit of the same hands of artists who contended also with other apparently much more demanding challenges.
Dames and knights: a profane and refined world: The atmosphere of the beautiful and courtly fable renders less dramatic even the grimmest scenes. The dames of the well-off classes could easily recognize and identify themselves with those marvelous young girls, blonde and ethereal, graceful and extremely elegant in their fashionable attire: elaborate hairstyles, rich clothes with long trains, precious materials, and spacious sleeves. All the women are princesses; all the men are courageous knights on eager horses, often elegant with their fluttering capes and extravagant hats.
The Triumphs: A short allegorical poem in vernacular Italian, composed in terza rima (a three-line rhyme scheme), is among the last of the poet’s compositions. The text is divided into six chapters, each dedicated to a triumph.
Trionfo dell’Amore (triumph of love): it narrates how on a spring day the poet fell asleep in Valchiusa and had a dream in which the personfication of Love passed on a triumphal cart, followed by a crowd of supporters who are the defeated in love. Entering into the crowd, the poet recognizes numerous illustrious, historical, literary, mythological, and biblical personalities, as well as ancient and medieval poets and troubadours. At the end of this chapter he arrives at Cyprus, the island where Venus was born.
Trionfo della Pudicizia (triumph of modesty): the protagonist is Laura, who subtracts from the cart of Love many ancient and medieval illustrious women, such as Didone; this second procession disbands in Rome, in the Temple of Patrician Modesty.
Trionfo della Morte (triumph of death): here the poet recalls heros and people who have perished and, in one of the poem’s most beautiful passages, the idealized death of Laura.
Trionfo della Fama (triumph of fame): the description of a crowd of famous people, kings, poets, orators, philosophers, among whom Plato, who is, according to Petrarch, the wisest of all.
Trionfo del Tempo (triumph of time): the poet reflects upon himself and composes a new and touching consideration about the fugaciousness of things.
Trionfo dell’Eternità (triumph of eternity): it speaks of the refuge of the human being in God, the only source of eternity and comfort.

Characteristics of the facsimile

  • Integral reproduction in pure 23kt gold, on cartaPergamena®, of the Codex Strozzi 174 at the Medicean Laurentian Library in Florence, created by ArtCodex®, the Atelier of the Illuminated Codex.
  • Volume format: 13.7 x 21.7 cm, 49+2 leaves (102 pages) in cartaPergamena® (paper parchment) with 23 full-page miniatures with pure 23kt gold, realized by Apollonio di Giovanni.
  • Cover of red full-grain calfskin leather, vegetable-tanned in a vat, with blind-stamping and gold embossing.
  • Binding executed entirely by hand, with respect for the trimming of the pages and for the foliation.
  • Printing limited to 999 numbered and certified copies. The work is preserved in a precious slipcase with gold-framed glass.
  • Volume with commentary by a Scientific Committee, coordinated by expert scholars of Petrach.

Pure 23kt gold

The patented ArtCodex® technique of applying the gold consists of the use of gold leaf as adopted in the medieval scriptoria. In the volume, all the decorations of the borders and of the framed miniatures are enriched by the details in pure 23kt gold, which makes the reproduction precious and elegant.

The cover and binding

The leaves of the codex are bound and aligned following attentively and faithfully the collation of the manuscript. The precious cover in red full-grain calfskin leather presents elegant blind-stamping and gold leaf. The ageing of the cover is obtained by means of particular applications of coating.

The cartaPergamena® (paper parchment)

The recreated paper, denominated cartaPergamena®, presents the same characteristics as the parchment utilized for creating the original manuscript. The roughest and the smoothest side, and the change in thickness from one leaf to another, can be recognized by touch.