The Italian Renaissance

  • Apr 6, 1341

    Francesco Petrarch is Crowned Poet Laureate

    Francesco Petrarch, considered by any to be the "Father of the Renaissance" and the "Father of Humanism" is crowned Poet Laureate, marking what many historians believe to be the start of the Renaissance.
  • Apr 6, 1361

    Second Wave of the Black Plague

    The Black Death wiped out a third of Europe's population. The resulting labour shortage increased wages and the reduced population was therefore much wealthier, better fed, and, significantly, had more surplus money to spend on luxury goods.
  • Apr 6, 1397

    Giovanni de Medici Moves to Florence

    Giovanni de Medici, the papal banker, headquarters his business in Florence and becomes involved in Florentine public life and patronage of the arts, laying the groundwork for the rise of his son Cosimo de Medici to power.
  • Apr 6, 1420

    The Papacy Returns to Rome

    The Papacy, having been located in Avignon in France since 1305, returns to Rome, bringing with it the prestige and wealth necessary to rebuild the city.
  • Apr 6, 1429

    Cosimo de Medici Takes Over his Father's Business

    Cosimo de Medici becomes head of the bank after his father dies, using his economic power to consolidate political power.
  • Apr 6, 1447

    Pope Nicholas V Ascends to the Throne

    Pope Nicholas V takes the first steps toward turning Rome into a Renaissance city, undertaking many construction projects and strongly encouraging the arts.
  • Apr 7, 1447

    Francesco Sforza came to power in Milan

    Francesco Sforza came to power in Milan and rapidly transformed the still medieval city into a major centre of art and learning that drew Leone Battista Alberti.
  • Apr 6, 1453

    Constantinople Falls

    The center of the Byzantine Empire, Constantinople falls to the Ottoman Turks, provoking an exodus of Greek people and works of art and literature into the Italian city-states.
  • May 5, 1454

    Johann Gutenberg Prints the Gutenberg Bible

    Gutenberg is credited with the invention of the printing press in Europe, and ushers in the age of printed books, making literature more accessible to all Europeans.
  • Apr 6, 1458

    Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini became Pope Pius II

    The humanist scholar Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini became Pope Pius II in 1458
  • Apr 6, 1464

    Lorenzo de Medici Ascends to Power in Florence

    After Cosimo's death in 1464, his son Piero rules until his death in 1469, when power falls into the hands of Lorenzo, who rules until 1491, raising Florence to its greatest heights of the Renaissance.
  • Jul 2, 1471

    Pope Sixtus IV is Elected Pope

    With this election, the Papacy began a plunge toward moral degradation while Rome itself ascended to the greatest splendor it had achieved since Roman times. The morally corrupt model for papal rule was followed throughout the Renaissance, undermining papal moral authority, but allowing the Papacy to grow politically and economically strong.
  • Apr 7, 1475

    The Vatican Library is Formally Established

    One of the oldest libraries in the world and contains one of the most significant collections of historical texts.
  • Period: Apr 7, 1494 to Apr 7, 1559

    The Italian Wars

    A series of foreign invasions of Italy that begins when Charles XIII of France invaded North Italy, that would continue for several decades. This caused instability in many Italian city states, and Italy as a whole. The Church also suffered. This instablilty was a large factor in the downfall of the Italian Renaissance.
  • Feb 7, 1497

    Bonfire of the Vanities

    Supporters of the Dominican priest Girolamo Savonarola collected and publicly burned thousands of objects like cosmetics, art, and books in Florence, Italy, on the Mardi Gras festival.
  • Period: Apr 9, 1498 to Apr 9, 1527

    High Renaissance

    The period denoting the apogee of the visual arts in the Italian Renaissance.
  • Period: Apr 10, 1501 to Apr 10, 1504

    Michaelangelo Carves the Statue of David

  • Apr 7, 1513

    Niccolo Machiavelli Publishes The Prince

    Often considered one of the most influential political books of all time, The Prince outlines the argument that it is better for a ruler to be feared than loved.
  • Oct 12, 1513

    Pope Leo X Comes to the Papal Throne

    The second son of Lorenzo de Medici, Leo X gave Rome the final push towards Renaissance glory. He encouraged scholarly learning, and supported the theatre, an art form considered to be of ambiguous morality until then. Most prominently, he supported the visual arts of painting and sculpture.
  • Oct 31, 1517

    Martin Luther Posts His Ninety-Five Theses

    Martin Luther posts the ninety-five theses, which he had composed in Latin, on the door of the Castle Church of Wittenberg, arguably beginning the Protestant Reformation in Europe.
  • Apr 10, 1520

    Mannerism Emerges

  • May 6, 1527

    The Sack of Rome

    The conquest of Rome by troops of the Holy Roman emperor Charles V. Many artists and architects, including Rosso Fiorentino (Giovanni Battista di Jacopo, 1494–1540) and Sebastiano Serlio (1475–1554), sought safety and patronage elsewhere, and in so doing promoted the diffusion of High Renaissance Roman culture.
  • Period: Apr 7, 1545 to Apr 7, 1563

    The Council of Trent

    Officially established the Roman Inquisition, in which climate, humanism was akin to heresy. Many consider this to mark the end of the Italian Renaissance.
  • Apr 9, 1545

    Earliest Noted Commedia Performance On Record

  • Apr 9, 1551

    Commedia Becomes a More Established Artform

  • Apr 9, 1559

    Peace of Cateau-Cambresis

    Signed by Spain and France, this treaty ended the Italian Wars and sealed Spanish primacy in Italy. Under high taxes and tight restrictions by the Spanish, the Italian economy crumbled and intellectual and artistic production declined.
  • Apr 9, 1568

    Gelosi Commedia Troupe is Formed

    The first professional commedia troupe is formed.
  • Apr 10, 1568

    Ganassa Is First Mentioned as the Leader of a Troupe in Mantua

  • Period: Apr 9, 1569 to

    The Gelosi Troupe is Active

  • Apr 10, 1571

    Ganassa's Troupe Performs in Paris

  • Apr 9, 1574

    The Gelosi Troupe Performes for the King of France

  • Apr 9, 1574

    Confidenti Troupe is Formed

  • Period: Apr 10, 1574 to

    Ganassa's Troupe Performs in Spain

    Never to return.
  • Period: Apr 10, 1580 to

    The Golden Age of Commedia

  • Commedia Becomes Popular in France

  • Isabella Dies in Childbirth in France

  • The Gelosi and Confidenti Troupes Merge

  • La Fortuna Isabella is Published

  • The Newly Merged Troupe Performs in Paris

  • Commedia Begins to Die Off in France

  • Jean Antoine Watteau Paints "The French Comedians"

  • Italian Comic Opera Emerges

  • Franz Anton Bustelli Models 16 Commedia Characters

  • Commedia Dell'Arte Outlawed by Napoleon