Francesco Petrarch - Le Rime, 1900

Francesco Petrarch (Arezzo, 1304 - 1374, Arquà Petrarca)

Le Rime restituite nell'ordine e nella lezione del testo originario sugli autografi, 1900

Printed ink on paper


As a student of Harvard professor Charles Eliot Norton (1827-1908) and a member of his Dante Society, Isabella Stewart Gardner had a great interest in Italian poetry and literature. She kept this small copy of Petrarch’s Le rime, a fourteenth-century collection of Italian vernacular poetry, close at hand inside her desk in the Macknight Room. This was a gift from her close friend, the composer-pianist Clayton Johns (1857-1932). Many objects in the Museum’s collection are associated with Petrarch, including numerous editions of his writings and artworks inspired by his poetry. The most significant of these Petrach-inspired works are the panels by Francesco Pesellino (1422-57) in the Early Italian Room. They depict scenes from Petrarch’s allegorical poem, The Triumphs of Love, Chastity, Death, Fame, Time, and Eternity.