Francesco Petrarca (20 July 1304 – 19 July 1374), known in English as Petrarch, was an Italian scholar, poet, and one of the earliest Renaissance humanists.
Petrarch is often called the "father of humanism". 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.