The first ms. listed is in Florence, 1494, where Charles stopped on his way to Naples. It is described in pp. 328-331 of Elisabeth Pellegrin, Manuscrits de Petrarque dans les Bibliotheques de France, Padova 1966, as Bibliotheque Nationale (BNF) Ital. 548 (7768). It contains, apart from introductory matter: 11r-54r, the Trionfi; 56r-193v, the Rime; and 194r-199v, Leonardo Bruni's, Vita di Francesco Petrarco. About how it came to France, she says (pp. 328f,followed by my translation):
This manuscript is signed and dated by Antonio Sinibaldi, last day of September 1476, Florence. A footnote says that Ullman in an essay enumerates 30 ms. by various authors signed by him between 1461 and 1499, including this one. The illuminations are attributed by d'Ancona to Francesco d'Antonio del Cherico, best known for his illuminations in other Trionfi manuscripts.Selon Delisle, le ms. été fait pour Laurent de Médicis (d. 1492) dont les emblèmes: une tige verte garnie de feuilles et de fleurs avec la devise: Le tens revien[t], et l'anneau d'or avec un diamant (4), sont peints dans la [end p. 130] bordure du f. IV. Il fut offert au roi Chalres VIIII lors de son passage à Florence en 1494 (1).
4. D'Ancona, La miniatura [fiorentina (Secoli XI-XVI), Firenze 1914, I, 432-33], I 40, mentionne cette devise et l' "anello diamantato" au nombre des emblèmes de laurent le Magnifique.
1. Les armes peintes au bas du f. 11r en deux écus accolé sous la même couronne sont inconstablement celles de Charles VIII comme prétendant au royaume de Jérusalem par les Anjoux: 1: de France, 2) écartelé d'Anjou et de Jérusalem. On les retrouve identiques sur un ms. français donnée en 1496 par Charles VIII à Philippe du Moulin (v. A. De Laborde, Les principaux manuscrits à peintures conservés dans l'ancienne Bibliothèque imperiale publique de Saint-Pétersbourg, 116-17, no. 112: fr. Q. V. XIV. I. L'Institut de recharche et d'istoire des texts possède un microfilm de ce ms.) D'Ancona, La Miniatura...., I 432-33, attribue ces armes aux Aragon.
(According to Delisle, the ms. was done for Lorenzo de Medici,(d. 1492) whose emblems: a green stem topped with leaves and flowers, with the motto: Le tens revien[t], and the gold ring with a diamond (4), are painted in the border of f. IV. It was offered to King Charles VIII during his time in Florence in 1494 (1).
4. Ancona, La Miniatura fiorentina (Secoli XI-XVI), Firenze 1914, I, 432-433, I 40, mentions currency and "anello diamantato" [diamond ring] among the emblems of Lorenzo the Magnificent.
1. Arms painted at the bottom of f. 11r of two attached crowns [écus, a denomination of French currency] under the same crown [couronne] are incontestably those of Charles VIII as a pretender to the kingdom of Jerusalem by the Anjoux: 1: France, 2. torn from Anjou and from Jerusalem. They are the same as ones found on a French ms. given in 1496 by Charles VIII to Philippe Moulin (see A. Laborde,The principal illuminated manuscripts preserved in the old Imperial Public Library in St. Petersburg, 116-17, No. 112:.. en QV XIV.. I. The Institute of Research and History of Texts has a microfilm of the ms.) D'Ancona, La Miniatura ...., I 432-33, attributes these arms to Aragon.
Pellegrin cites without enthusiasm one art historian who theorizes that the manuscript was made for a wedding (p. 331):
Pellegrin says of the illuminations:L'hypothèse toute récente de Klara Casapodi-Gardonyi selon laquelle le ms. aurait été fait à l'occasion du mariage de Mattthias Corvin et de Béatrice d'Aragon aurait fait partie de la fameuse bibliothèque "Corviniana" repose sur des bases trop fragiles: l'oiseau qui figure sur des plaquettes émaillées de la reliure serait le corbeau, emblème des Corvin, la paysage du f. IV représenterait la ville hungroise de Vinegrad, et sur l'attribution erronée des armes à Louis XII.
(The very recent hypothesis of Klara Casapodi-Gardonyi that the ms. would have been done for the wedding of Mattthias Corvin and Beatrice of Aragon, made part of the famous "Corviniana" library, is of bases that are too fragile:the bird appearing on the enameled plaques of the binding would be the raven emblem of Corvinus, the landscape of f. IV represent the Hungarian City Vinegrad, and the erroneous attribution of the arms to Louis XII.
Anyway, Charles got it. At that time the anti-Medici Savonarola was the leader of the government of Florence.Reluire originale de soie rouge ornée de ênd of p. 328]: "plaquettes émaillée en forme de quadrilobes dont quatre aux armes de France (refaites); sur chaque plat 5 médallions représentant les Muses (en manque). Enluminieres à pleine page aux ff. IV, 10v, 24v, 39v, 47v, 51v; bordures de fleurettes, initiales d'or finement enluminées ou historiées, (1) titres en or ou rubriqués.
1. Pétrarque est représanté plusieurs fois: au f. iv; dans l'enluminure, naufragé s'accrochant à un laurier, et dans la bordure inférieure, habilé de noir et assis sous un laurier; au f. 56r, dans l'initiale, et. couronné, dans la bordure.
(Original of shining red silk adorned with [end of p. 328]: enameled plaques in the form of quatrefoils including four of the arms of France (redone); on each plate 5 medallions representing the Muses (missing). Full page illuminations at ff IV, 10v, 24v, 39v, 47V, 51v.. ; borders of flowers, initials of finely illuminated or historiated gold, (1) titles in gold or rubricated.
1. Petrarch is represented several times at f. iv in the illumination: as a castaway clinging to a laurel, and in the bottom border, dressed in black and sitting under a laurel; at f. 56r in the initial, and. crowned, in the border.
Pellegrin's account raises a couple of questions. First, if the illuminations of the Muses--interesting in itself--are missing, how do we know that they are of the Muses? Presumably they are identified as such in the introductory material, but Pellegrin doesn't give any explanation. Second, are the six full page illuminations those of the triumphs? she usually says, but here she says nothing. It would be nice to find reproductions in some book or web-page. I have tried without success, but I am not very good at this type of thing. The manuscript seem to have been quite famous in its day. One Florentine ms. in Spain is said (in the book on Spain, referenced later in this post) is described as in part a copy of the script in this one.
Next, of course, Charles conquered disease-ridden Naples. Five Petrarch manuscripts from Naples made it back with Charles to France. One (I, p. 382-383) is a book of "penitential psalms" in Latin. One (II, p. 342-343) is another copy of the Trionfi, destined for his castle at Blois. Another (II, pp. 337-338) is the Commento ai Trionfi del Petrarca by Francesco Filelfo, signed and dated in Naples, 8 July 1475. Finally (II, pp. 350-353), he took two copies of a Commento sopra del Rime del Petrarca by Francesco Patrizi, both in late 15th century script. Illuminations are not indicated for any of these manuscripts.
I was curious as to how well Petrarch's Trionfi was known in France at that time. Pellegrin in her entries says not only where manuscripts were made, but also how they got to France, when known. I find listed numerous 15th century Italian manuscripts of that work, but none indicated as coming to France in the 15th century. All I find is a 15th century translation of the work by Georges de la Forge, followed by others of the same translation, one "15th or 16th century" and the others "beginning of the 16th century". So probably de la Forge's work, if in the 15th century at all, was very late in that century,
Actually, at the beginning of the 16th century there began to be other translations of the Trionfi; Pellegrin (vol. 3, pp. 406-408) lists three others: Francois Roberter, Bernardo Illicino, and Simon Bourgoyne. And at some point, possibly before de la Forge, someone did six Latin quatrains summarizing the basic points of the six triumphs, which in some form are included in all the translations. Given that the Illicino translation existed in a handsome illustrated edition owned by Louis XII, and that Bourgoyne is given as a "valet de chambre" of Louis XII, I would guess a close association between all these translations and the kings of France, first probably Charles VIII, who died in 1498, and then Louis XII, who died in 1515. I count twelve manuscripts of one or another of these translations before Louis' death. After that there are only four more in the first half of the 16th century. I notice that the edition for Louis XII was done in the city of Rouen, which would soon, although later than Lyons, be known for its production of tarot decks.
In Italy the first print edition of the Trionfi was in 1470, according to WorldCat, with many after then but before Charles VIII's incursion. It would seem that French knowledge of the poem, if any, would have been from these print editions.
The first print edition in France of the Trionfi was de la Forge's translation in 1514. Six print editions of this and other translations followed in the 1520s and 1530s. That probably explains the decrease in manuscripts after 1515.
It is not that Petrarch was unknown in France during the 15th century, but rather that it was only the works already translated into French that got copied, in translation. In fact there were only two of these works, both translated in the late 14th century at the request of King Charles V: the De Remediis and the Legend of Griselda. They appear in numerous manuscripts. Beyond that, nothing, except one copy of six sonnets.
CASTILE, FLANDERS, AND ARAGON
In Castilian-speaking Spain (enumerated in Milagros Villar, Codices Petrarquescos en Espana. Padova 1995),during the 16th century, I found only one translation in manuscript, in one copy (and none in the 15th). There were two print translations, one in Seville 1532 and the other in Madrid 1554. There are several Italian manuscripts of 15th century origin in Spanish libraries, but they all seem to have been brought in after the Spanish took over from the French in Italy.
Since manuscripts in Flanders would have been transferred to Madrid by Emperor Charles V, the above would seem to extend also to that region. I looked in the book on Petrarch manuscripts in Belgium (Gilbert Tournoy and Jozef Ijsewijn, I codici del Patrarca nel Belgio, Padova 1988). There are no manuscripts of the Trionfi dating from the 15th century, and only one from the 16th century, an Italian one dated 1504. When it got to Belgium is not said. WorldCat does not list any print editions in Dutch or Belgian libraries.
What is unusual regarding the manuscripts deposited in today's Spain is that there are five 15th century ones clearly of Catalonian or Valencian origin (if former Catalan areas of today's France are included), most from the second half. But at least part of one (not necessarily done in Spain, because it is in Italian) is possibly earlier, since it is written in gothic pre-humanistic script. Then follows a commentary in Catalan, a translation of Bernardo Ilicino's commentary on the Trionfi, in humanistic script. (This commentary seems to have been first published around 1470, since it was dedicated to Borso d'Este, according to Kristeller, vol. 4 of Studies in Renaissance Thought and Letters, p. 361.) I suspect that the abundance of Catalan manuscripts is most likely due to the fact that Naples, Catalonia, and Valencia were all part of the "Crown of Aragon" then (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crown_of_Aragon), and we know already that Ferdinand I of Naples collected Petrarch and Petrarch studies. or at least libraries confiscated (as Pellegrin describes) from those who did. I am intrigued by seeing Illicino's name appear twice now, with a later career, apparently (or that of a son?), as a translator of the Trionfi into French.
If activity around Petrarch's Trionfi is any indicator of the relative popularity of the game associated with that word, as appears to be true in Italy after 1440, I would guess from this data that the game was not popular in France until after Charles VIII's incursion into Italy, and that Charles had something to do with its popularity, at least among the nobility. I would guess also that the game was not popular in Castilian Spain during the 16th century, at least during the time when owning manuscripts was still considered prestigious. Flanders, but it seems to be in the same situation as Spain. This is not to say, however, that Flemish artists would not have been producing decks for the Italian market, as I think some silk merchant data indicates. Also, it seems to me that several distinctive motifs from the tarot can be seen in Bosch's paintings.
From the relatively large number of 15th century manuscripts in Catalunya-Valencia, I would think it possible that the game was popular there in the late 15th century. However this is an area famous for its troubadours; so it may be that connection that accounts for the popularity of the Trionfi's. That was not the situation in northern France, where any native troubadours were imitators of southern styles.