The manuscript Strozzi 174 kept in the Biblioteca Laurenziana of Florence is a fifteenth-century book written in calligraphic mercantesca by the scribe and money changer Bese Ardinghelli. The codex contains Petrarch’s Triumphs inlcuding eight folios with sonnets and portraits of famous figures at the opening of the manuscript.
The illustrations for the Triumphs were made by Apollonio di Giovanni (1415/17–65), a Florentine illuminator and painter who specialized in the decoration of devotional paintings, bridal chests, and spalliere.
Petrarch’s Triumphs: Educational Images for the Instruction of the Youth
The work entitled Triumphs is an allegorical poem in Italian composed by Petrarch at the beginning of his career. The poem celebrates the triumphs of love, fame, time, death, and eternity with reference to people from Antiquity as well as contemporary figures.
Through these figures, Petrarch reflects on universal values like love and fame. The poem was meant to educate young women and gentlemen to the virtues of the courtly love, which Petrarch intended as a way to save the soul.
Apollonio di Giovanni Painter and Illuminator
Apollonio di Giovanni (1415-65) was active in Florence, where he led a rich workshop of illuminators and painters of bridal chests.
Apollonio di Giovanni’s style finds inspiration in the production of Beato Angelico and other Florentine painters such as Gentile da Fabriano, Paolo Uccello and Filippo Lippi.
Among his later works, there are the decorations of this manuscript of Petrarch’s Triumphs as well as the illumination of the so called Virgilio Riccardiano, containing Virgil’s Eclogues, Georgics and Aeneid.
The manuscript of the Triumphs is an elegant production, a remarkable manuscript that illustrates with refined miniatures Petrarch's influential poetry.