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Francesco Petrarca: biography, main dates and events, creativity

The whole world knows the great Italian sonnets. Francesco Petrarca, their author, a fine Italian humanist poet of the fourteenth century, became famous throughout the centuries for his creativity. It is about him that will be discussed in this article. We will talk about the life, creativity and love story of Petrarch.

Francesco Petrarca: biography

A great poet was born in Arezzo (Italy) in 1304, on July 20. His father, Pietro di Ser Parzo, nicknamed Petraco, was a Florentine notary. However, he was expelled from Florence before the birth of his son for supporting the White Party. The same persecution was subjected to Dante. However, Arezzo journey of the Petrarch family did not end. The poet's parents roamed the cities of Tuscany until they decided to go to Avignon. By that time Francesco was nine years old.


In France in those years there were already schools, one of them was taken by Francesco Petrarca. Biography of the poet confirms that during his studies he mastered the Latin language and acquired a love for Roman literature. Petrarch finished his studies in 1319 and, at his father's insistence, set about studying law. To this end, he went to Montpellier, and then to the University of Bologna, where he stayed until 1326 - at this time his father died. However, jurisprudence did not interest Francesco at all. He was drawn to a completely different field - classical literature.

And after graduating from university, the future poet instead of going to the lawyers, went to the priests. This was due to a lack of funds - he inherited from his father he received a manuscript of the works of Virgil.

The Pontifical Court

Francesco Petrarca (the biography of which is represented here), settles in Avignon at the court of the Pope and accepts the order. Here he draws near to the powerful Colonna family thanks to a university friendship with one of its members Giacomo.

In 1327 Petrarch first saw his future beloved Laura, who will remain his muse for life. Feelings towards the girl became one of a number of reasons for the poet's removal to Vaucluse from Avignon.

Petrarch is considered the first who ascended to the top of Mont-Vanto. The ascent took place on April 26, 1336. He traveled with his brother.

The literary fame and patronage of the Colonna family helped Petrarch get a little house in the Sorgi River valley. Here the poet has lived a total of 16 years.

Laurel wreath

Meanwhile, thanks to his literary works (especially worth noting sonnets), Francesco Petrarca became famous. In this regard, he received an invitation to receive a laurel wreath (the highest award for the poet) from Naples, Paris and Rome. The poet chose Rome, and in 1341 was crowned in the Capitol.

After that, Francesco lived for about a year at the court of Parma tyrant Azzo Correggio, and then returned to Vaucluse. All this time, the poet dreamed of the revival of the former Roman greatness, so he began preaching the revolt of the Roman Republic. Such political views destroyed his friendship with the Colonna, which led to the resettlement to Italy.

New Pope Innocent VI

The life of Francesco Petrarch from the moment of birth and almost until his death was full of travel and travel. So, in 1344 and in 1347 years. The poet made lengthy travels through Italy, which brought him many acquaintances, most of which ended in friendship. Among these Italian friends was and Boccaccio.

In 1353, Francesco Petrarca was forced to leave Vaucluse. Books of the poet and infatuation with Virgil aroused the disapproval of the new pope Innocent VI.

Nevertheless, Petrarch was offered a chair in Florence, from which the poet, however, refused. He chose to go to Milan, where he took his place at the Visconti court, performing diplomatic missions. At this time he visited even Charles IV in Prague.

Death of poet

1361 was marked for Petrarch by an attempt to return to Avignon, which was unsuccessful. Then the poet left Milan and in 1362 settled in Venice. Here lived his illegitimate daughter with his family.

From Venice, almost every year Petrarch traveled to Italy to travel. The last years of his life the poet lived at the court of Francesco da Carrara. Petrarch died in the village of Arkva on the night of 18 to 19 July 1374. The poet did not live up to his 70th birthday just one day. He was found only in the morning. He sat at the table, bending over the manuscript in which he described Caesar's life.

Periodization of creativity

He lived an extraordinary and interesting life Francesco Petrarca (biography of the poet allowed us to make sure of this). Not everything is simple with the writer's work. Thus, in literary criticism, it is customary to divide Petrarch's works into two parts: various works in Latin and Italian poetry. Latin works have a huge historical significance, while poetry in Italian made the writer world-famous.

Although the poet himself perceived his poems as trifles and trifles, which he wrote not for the sake of publication, but only in order to relieve the poet's heart. Probably, that is why the depth, sincerity and immediacy of the sonnets of the Italian author had a huge impact not only on contemporaries, but also on subsequent generations.

Petrarch and Laura

The love of the whole life of Petrarch and inspired him to the great creations of the museum is known to all lovers of poetry. However, there is not much information about it.

It is known for certain that he first saw a girl on April 6, 1327 in the church of Santa Chiara. Laura was then 20 years old, and the poet 23 years old.

Unfortunately, there is no historical evidence of whether they were acquainted, whether the girl was reciprocated by a writer who, all his life, kept in his soul and thoughts a bright image of a golden-haired lover. Nevertheless, Petrarch and Laura, even if their feelings were mutual, could not be together, because the poet was bound by church dignity. And church ministers had no right to marry and have children.

Since the first meeting for three years, Francesco has lived in Avignon, singing his love for Laura. At the same time, he tried to see her in the church and in the places where she used to go. Do not forget that Laura had her own family, husband and children. However, these circumstances did not disturb the poet in any way, because his beloved seemed to him an angel in the flesh.

The last meeting and death of Laura

According to the statements of literary critics, Petrarch last saw his beloved September 27, 1347. And six months later, in April 1348, a woman died tragically. The cause of her death was still unknown. Petrarch did not want to come to terms with the death of his beloved, and in many verses, written after Laura's death, he often addressed her as living.

The collection of her sonnets devoted to her "Chancellery" Petrarch broke into two parts: "for life" and "for the death of Laura."

Before his death, the poet wrote that in his life he only wished for two things - laurels and Laura, that is, fame and love. And if the glory came to him during his lifetime, then he hoped to find love after death, where he will be able to unite with Laura forever.

Features of creativity and spiritual struggle

It was the collection "Canzonieres" that determined the place and role of the poet in Italian and world literature. Petrarch, whose poems were a real discovery of his time, first created an artistic form for Italian lyrical works - the poetry of the writer became for the first time the history of an inner individual feeling. The interest to the inner life became the basis of the entire work of Petrarch and determined his enormous humanistic role.

Among these works are two autobiographies of Petrarch. The first, unfinished, has the form of a message to descendants and tells the outside of the author's life. The second, which has the form of a dialogue between Petrarch and the blessed Augustine, describes the inner life and moral struggle in the soul of the poet.

The basis of this confrontation is the struggle between the ascetic morality of the church and the personal desires of Petrarch. Against this backdrop, the poet's interest in ethical issues is understandable, he devoted four works to reflection on: "On Monastic Leisure", "On Solitary Life," etc. Nevertheless, in the dispute with Augustine, defending ascetic-religious philosophy, the humanistic A look at the world of Petrarch.

Attitude to the Church

He tries to reconcile the church doctrine with the classical literature of Petrarch. Verses, of course, have nothing to do with religion or asceticism, yet the poet managed to remain a believing Catholic. This is confirmed by a number of treatises, as well as correspondence with friends. In addition, Petrarch strongly opposed the scholastics and the contemporary clergy.

For example, "Letters Without Address" are filled with satirical and extremely harsh attacks on the depraved mores of the papal capital. This work consists of 4 parts, addressed to different persons - both real and imaginary.


Francesco Petrarch, whose work was very diverse, was critical of both the contemporary church and ancient literature. This state of affairs suggests that the poet had a highly developed self-contemplation. Examples of those works where such a relation to the world manifested itself are the following: a speech against a physician who placed science above eloquence and poetry; A statement against the prelate, who predicted the return of Urban V to Rome; A speech against another prelate who attacked the works of Petrarch himself.

The criticism of the poet, connected with ethical problems, is also found in his historical writings. For example, in De rebus memorandis libri IV - a collection of anecdotes (stories) and utterances that were borrowed from Latin and modern authors. These sayings are arranged according to ethical clauses, which, for example, bore the following names: "On Wisdom", "On Solitude", "On Faith", etc.

The major correspondence for the biographers of Petrarch is the great correspondence of the poet. Many of these letters are, in fact, treatises on politics and morality, others are like journalistic articles. Much less important are the writer's speeches, which he pronounced at various festivities.

"Canzonieres" ("Book of Songs")

As a poet Francesco Petrarca became famous for his collection of "Canzonier", about which we have already mentioned above. The book was devoted to the poet's love for Laura. The collection included only 350 sonnets, of which 317 belonged to the part "On the life and death of Madonna Laura." For forty years Petrarch devoted his sonnet to his beloved.

In his lyrical works, Francesco admires the heavenly purity and angelic appearance of Laura. It is for the poet a majestic and inaccessible ideal. Her soul is compared to a bright star. With all this, Petrarcha manages to describe Laura as a real woman, and not just as an ideal image.

For his era, Francesco Petrarca was the first who began to glorify the greatness and beauty of a person, paying attention not only to appearance, but also to personal qualities. In addition, the poet is one of the founders of humanism as the content of creativity and way of thinking. Before Petrarch, the art of the Middle Ages sang only spiritual, divine and unearthly features, and the man seemed imperfect and unworthy to the servant of God.

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