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A brief timeline of important historical events in Europe and Italian art 1200-1600

Images from top to bottom: detail, Lorenzo Ghiberti, Gates of Paradise; detail, Piero della Francesca, Legend of the True Cross; detail, portraits of Cosimo de' Medici and Piero de' Medici, Benozzo Gozzoli, Procession of the Magi.


1204 Venetians sack Constantinople

1224 St. Francis receives the stigmata (wounds of Christ) at La Verna

1228 St. Francis canonized

1234 St. Dominic canonized

1260 Siena crushes Florence in the Battle of Montaperti

1266 Piazza San Marco in Venice is paved and enlarged

1299 Palazzo della Signoria begun in Florence


1302 Giotto receives the commission for the Arena Chapel in Padua

1304 Destructive fire in Florence

1308 Dante begins the Divine Comedy

1308 Siena Cathedral commissions Duccio to paint the Maesta’

1308 Bardi and Peruzzi banks fail in Florence

1333 The Arno floods Florence

1338-9 Ambrogio Lorenzetti, Allegory of Good and Bad Government, Palazzo Publico, Siena

1348 Plague strikes Italy with devastating results

1368 St. Catherine’s mystical marriage with Christ

1378 Uprising of the Ciompi, the Florentine wool workers

1397 Medici bank created in Florence



1400 Plague strikes Italy

1403-24 Lorenzo Ghiberti, North Door, Baptistery, Florence

1411-17 Donatello sculpts Saints Mark and George

1421 Ca’ D’Oro palace constructed in Venice

c. 1424 Masaccio and Masolino, Brancacci Chapel, Santa Maria del Carmine, Florence

1425 Florence, Venice and papacy war against Milan

1425-52 Lorenzo Ghiberti, Gates of Paradise, East doors, Baptistery, Florence

1426-7 Massacio’s Trinity, Santa Maria Novella, Florence

1427 Florence Catasto tax census

1431 Joan of Arc burned at the stake

1433 Medici exiled from Florence for one year

1435 Leon Alberti treatise On Painting

1436 Brunelleschi’s Dome completed in Florence

1438-45 Fra Angelico, frescoes in Monastery of S. Marco, Florence



1450s Piero della Francesca, Legend of the True Cross, S. Francesco, Arezzo

1452 Leonardo da Vinci is born

1454 Major Italian powers agree to boundaries with the Peace of Lodi which reduces internal warfare

1454 War of Roses in England

1456 Gutenberg Bible printed

c. 1459 Benozzo Gozzoli, Procession of the Magi, Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, Florence

1464 Cosimo de’ Medici died

1469 Lorenzo de' Medici "the Magnificent" assumes power in Tuscany

1475 Michelangelo is born

1482 Botticelli, Primavera

1484-6 Botticelli, Birth of Venus

1490s First booked printed in Italy

1492 Columbus lands in the Indies

1492 Lorenzo the Magnificent dies

1494 Medici expelled from Florence

1494 Luca Pacioli codifies double entry bookkeeping system

1495-8 Leonardo da Vinci, Last Supper

1497 Florentine fundamentalist religious leader Savonarola’s “Bonfire of the Vanities.” He seizes power from the Medici and is burned at the stake one year later.



1501 Amerigo Vespucci sails to South America

1501-4 Michelangelo, David

1503 Leonardo da Vinci, Mona Lisa

1506 New St. Peter’s breaks ground in Rome

1507 Giorgione, Sleeping Venus

1508 Michelangelo begins Sistine ceiling frescoes

1509 Henry VIII becomes King of England

1510-11 Raphael, Stanza della Segnature, Rome

1512 Copernicus publishes On the Revolution of the Celestial Spheres with the sun as the center of the solar system

1516-18 Titian, Assumption of the Virgin

1517 Martin Luther posts his 95 Theses for church reform

1520 Martin Luther is excommunicated

1520 Artist Raphael Sanzio dies

1527 Holy Roman Emperor Charles V attacks Rome, known as the Sack of Rome

1536-41 Michelangelo, Last Judgement

1543 Copernicus published astronomical model of planets rotating around the sun

1559 Michelangelo, Laurentian Library staircase

1564 Michelangelo dies

1565 Foundation of St. Augustine, Florida

1596 Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

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