Petrarch (Arezzo, 20 July 1304 – Arquà, 19 July 1374) was born into a Florentine family in exile (due to his father’s belonging to the white Guelphs).
He had an adventurous life and had no respite in his wanderings, even after his death.
His tomb was in fact desecrated in 1630, probably to resell some bones of this famous poet, that remain unfound.
Diagnostic analyses on what was left, surprisingly, revealed that the skull was not his own, but that of a woman who lived in 1200.
The skeleton, on the other hand, seems authentic: in addition to a compatible dating, it reports some fractures in the ribs, which corresponds to the reported news that he was kicked by a horse.
In the illustration, the miniature by Simone Martini, for the cover of the “Ambrosian Virgil”, by Petrarch, now preserved at the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana in Milan.
The work testifies to the friendship between the two artists and literates, who both attended the court of Pope Benedict XII in Avignon.
This illuminated page shows the Latin commentator Servius, pulling back a curtain to show the supreme poet lying down. He seems to draw inspiration by looking up at the sky, pen and book in hand.
The act of pulling the curtain aside is a clear metaphor for the commentator’s disclosure role.
A soldier, a shepherd and a farmer attend the scene, alluding to the epic, pastoral and bucolic themes sung in the poet’s work.
By Simone Martini Art–Test analysed the Polyptych of Santa Caterina. We will talk about it soon! Stay tuned!