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Italian Literature in the Renaissance – Petrarch’s Triumphs and the connection between Literature and Visual Arts


Wednesday, 13 November 2019 to Thursday, 28 May 2020
Total hours: 40
Hours of lectures: 40

Examination procedure

  • Report or seminar


No prerequisites are required.

This course has been designed for undergraduate students, but it is open also to PhD candidates



The course – strictly connected with the PhD course – aims to offer a complete critical reading of Petrarch’s Triumphi. We will focus on some specific issues as, for example, the unfinished dimension of the text, the meaning of its narrative structure (in the light of Dante Commedia and Boccaccio Amorosa visione), its copious iconographical sources, and first of all its relationships with Rerum vulgarium fragmenta as far as the hard attempt to harmonize and resolve Petrarch’s intellectual and spiritual conflicts is concerned.

Petrarch’s Triumphs are an interesting case-study for the investigation of the relationship between word and image, literary writing and visual experiences, especially during the Renaissance period. This age was actually characterized by a cultural syncretism whose modalities of perception, knowledge and creation were founded on the plurality and transversality of its codes. The relevance of the images is very high when they are combined with the text in an illustrated book, but also when we have a strong relationship between the verbal code and the iconic code as in the case of the ecphrastic literature.


Educational goals:

The course aims to offer a complete critical reading of Petrarch’s Triumphi and an analysis of the main historical, philological and cultural questions concerning the relationship between Literature and Visual Arts. The focus on these transdisciplinary cultural experiences will allow students to take a fresh look at the modalities and instruments of literary, philological and historical analysis. By not limiting our research to isolated sectors, we will be able to address cultural phenomena in which word and image are closely allied and support one another, and through their interactions lead to reciprocal transformations.

Bibliographical references

Detailed bibliographical references will be given during the seminar. For an introduction to the main questions: Petrarch. A Critical Guide to the Complete Works, ed. by V. Kirkham, A. Maggi, Chicago UP, Chicago, 2009; The Cambridge Companion to Petrarch, ed. by A.R. Ascoli, U. Falkeid, Cambridge UP, Cambridge (Mass.), 2015; Lessico critico petrarchesco, a cura di R. Brovia e L. Marcozzi, Carocci, Roma, 2016; Letteratura e arti visive nel Rinascimento, a cura di G. Genovese e A. Torre, Carocci, Roma, 2019, (forthcoming).