The manuscript of Petrarch's Triumphs in the Biblioteca Laurenziana of Florence (MS Strozzi 174) 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 are the work of Apollonio di Giovanni (1415/17-65), a Florentine illuminator and painter who specialized in the decoration of devotional paintings, bridal chests, and wainscotting.
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. His style found 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 are the decorations of this manuscript of Petrarch's Triumphs as well as the illumination of the so-called Virgilio Riccardiano, which contains Virgil's Eclogues, Georgics, and Aeneid.