Woodcut of “The Joy of Farming”. Petrarch, 1572.

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Petrarch’s “Remedies for Fortune, Fair & Foul.”   German edition, 1572


Verso:  Text in German printed on laid paper. One woodcut by Hans Weiditz the Younger.


Recto:   As Verso, text only.


Printer:  Christian Egenolff, Frankfurt-am-Main. 


Date:  1572 


Content:  In the 1790 translation by Susannah Dobson, Petrarch has this to say about Farming: 


It seemeth to me that if Cato could find time for husbandry, other excellent persons may, for recreation, graft the tender twig upon the budding stock, or correct the lank leaves with the crooked hook, or bring the silver streams by new digged furrows into thirsty meadows.  This summer my field hath been very fruitful; mark the next. Hast thou made agreement with the frost, or with the hail; with the cranes and the wild geese, with the mice and the rats; thou shalt be host to fowls and worms and a servant to thy reapers and thy threshers.  Plenty this year is oft a token of scarcity the next.


Condition:  This leaf is in very good antiquarian condition.  The paper has darkened slightly, there are some minor edge tears and light stains in the margins, but they are masked off by the mat. The leaf is unconditionally guaranteed genuine.


Notes:  This leaf is from the German translation of Petrarch's De remediis utriusque fortunae. (Remedies for Fortune Fair and Foul.)  The German title is Trostspiegel in Glück und Unglück

Written in 1366 in Latin, the language of the educated, De remediis utriusque fortunae originally targeted an intellectual elite that was well acquainted with the ancient models Petrarch drew upon. However the work soon appealed to a much wider readership and by 1756 the Latin original of this bestseller was published in 28 editions, and was translated into more than 50 languages. It also saw 13 German versions, bearing catchy titles that translate as “Book of Happiness” and “Mirror of Comfort”. The evocative woodcuts of Hans Weiditz the Younger(1495-1537), the so-called "Master of Petrarch", greatly contributed to the success of this German edition.


Writing in the early 1350's, Petrarch said that battles between armies are more easy to win than battles within oneself.  "For a human being there is no struggle more pertinacious," he wrote, "than that with his soul and character".  Petrarch composed the De Remediis Utriusque Fortunae to aid others - and himself - in this ongoing battle of the mind.


Francesco Petrarca, known as Petrarch (1304-1374) was an Italian scholar and poet in Renaissance Italy, and one of the earliest humanists. His 1345 rediscovery in Verona of Cicero's letters  to Atticus, Brutus, and Quintus  is often credited with initiating the 14th-century Italian Renaissance. In the 16th century, Pietro Bembo created the model for the modern Italian language based on Petrarch's works, as well as those of Boccaccio, and, to a lesser extent, Dante.


Size:  Size of leaf: approx. 305x190 mm. Text and illustrated area : approx.  250x160 mm.  Presented in a museum quality mat, ready for framing.  Please note that postage is invoiced separately.  Australia $25. Overseas, ask for quote.


Item No:  PSE 081

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