No less lively, but more naive and intuitive awareness of humanity had Giovanni Boccaccio, a little younger than Petrarch, and tied to Petrarch by bonds of friendship and devotion. Traditions and new literary movements converge on him from all sides. The French legend of Florio and Biancifiore gives the argument to Filocolo ; the Filostrato emerges from the medieval disguises of the Trojan tales ; epic intentions inspire the Teseida ; Dante’s elements nourish the Ameto , the Amorosa vision , the Corbaccio ; the lyrics have a taste of Petrarch and more rarely of Dante; Ovid provides motifs and forms to the Fiesolan Nymphal and the Fiammetta . But he is everywhere, Messer Giovanni, in the representation of the gallant and conversational society of Filocolo and Ameto , in the painting of the vulgar and corrupting cunning of Filostrato and Corbaccio , in the delicate development of the idyllic passion of the Nymphal , in the subtle psychological analyzes and in the emphatic confessions of Fiammetta , in some moving notes by Teseida , in the sensual warmth and landscape color of many lyrics.
Almost all of these works, others of prose and others of poetry, precede and prepare the masterpiece, composed between 1348 and 1353. The Decameron it is a magnificent representation of life on almost all traditional motifs, infused by the great artist with a new soul and represented with stupendous effectiveness. Every social class, every variation of morality, every degree of human mischief or foolishness, all of life as a whole is represented in the great book; but with unparalleled vividness and truth above all the common daily reality and its aspects and characters that are in themselves or situations make ridiculous. That comic world, which had exhilarated the weary medieval souls, but had hitherto had only fragmentary and imperfect expressions of art, now receives perfect form within the organic unity of a great work of poetry, where the story of the love adventure, of mockery, of motto,
According to Remzfamily, this classicism which, analyzed, is color, line, balance of representation, syntax, rhythm, organization of period, is not in Boccaccio’s calculated artifice of the learned mind, but mostly the spontaneity of an artist, who manages to make his fine Florentine a language capable of the stylistic solemnity and luminosity and harmonies of Latin, and which rejoices in its beautiful creation and its virtuosity. But classicism, as a pure sense of form, is also the casual simplicity in which the prose of the great storyteller unfolds when the rhetorical pomp fails and the period runs short and light and from the phrases of the living Florentine language, from the idioticisms of others dialects, from popular proverbs the characters of the characters and the scenes spring up wonderfully colorful.
A true connoisseur of poetry, Boccaccio tries to revive in his own vulgar works that varied beauty that he avidly savored in classical literature. In his Latin scriptures of art (epistles, eclogues) the language is more tinged with medievalism than in Petrarch; in those of doctrine ( De genealogiis deorum gentilium , De casibus virorum illustrium , De claris mulieribus , De montibus , silvis, etc.) its purpose is not so much to reconstruct ancient thought in its genuineness (it does not even disdain medieval sources), as to understand and offer others ways of understanding ancient poets. Far less a philologist than Petrarch, he is more than him in history, from which the great Aretino abstracts himself with his dream of classical restoration, without realizing that that dream was born precisely from the new world created by the age immediately prior to his own, a world in which and of which he lives.