The image of Petrarch at
his desk is based on a miniature by Francesco di Antonio dell
Chierico, from a 15th century manuscript. The stamp was issued in 1974
to mark the 600th anniversary of the death of Petrarch.
Francesco Petrarch was born in Arezzo, Tuscany in
1304 and died in 1374. He was
the first modern poet to develop the lyric sonnet form to a high
degree. He is also regarded as the greatest scholar of his time. He
rediscovered the lost works of Cicero and Livy in monastic libraries,
and was the father of humanism.
He established a school of copyists in order to have
accurate copies of the ancient texts and he pioneered the cursive
italic script which was developed by Aldus as Italic at the end
of the 15th century. So, while he was not himself a calligrapher he is
closely associated with the art.