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Francesco Petrarca
Born20 July 1304(1304-07-20)
Died19 July 1374(1374-07-19) (aged 69)
Arquà Petrarca
OccupationRenaissance humanist
PeriodEarly Renaissance
Portrait of Petrarch.

Francesco Petrarca (July 20, 1304July 19, 1374), known in English as Petrarch, was an Italian scholar, poet, and one of the earliest Renaissance humanists. Petrarch is often popularly called the "father of humanism".[1] Based on Petrarch's works, and to a lesser extent those of Dante Alighieri and Giovanni Boccaccio, Pietro Bembo in the 16th century created the model for the modern Italian language. Petrarch is credited with developing the sonnet with his Canzoniere to a level of perfection that would be unsurpassed to this day and spreading its use to other European languages. His sonnets were admired and imitated throughout Europe during the Renaissance and became a model for lyrical poetry. Petrarch was also known for being one of the first people to call the Middle Ages the Dark Ages, although the negative myth as we know it today is largely the legacy of romantic literature.


  1. There are many popular examples, for a recent one this review of Carol Quillen's Rereading the Renaissance

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