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Quattrocento

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Title: Quattrocento  
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Subject: Cosimo Tura, Pisanello, Giovanni di Paolo, Franciabigio, Italian Renaissance
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Quattrocento

The cultural and artistic events of 15th century Italy are collectively referred to as the Quattrocento (Italian pronunciation: ; from the Italian for the number 400, or from "millequattrocento," 1400). Quattrocento encompasses the artistic styles of the late Middle Ages (most notably International Gothic) and the early Renaissance.

Sandro Botticelli's Annunciation, painted from 1489-1490, is an example of Quattrocento art.

Historical context

After the decline of the Western Roman Empire in 476, economic disorder and disruption of trade spread across Europe. This was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages, which lasted roughly until the 11th century, when trade picked up, population began to expand and the papacy regained its authority.

In the late Middle Ages, the political structure of the European continent slowly evolved from small, highly unstable fiefdoms into larger nation states ruled by monarchies, thereby providing greater stability. In Italy, urban centers arose that were populated by merchant and trade classes, who were able to defend themselves. Money replaced land as the medium of exchange, and increasing numbers of serfs became freedmen. The changes in Medieval Italy and the decline of feudalism paved the way for social, cultural, and economic changes.

The Quattrocento is viewed as the transition from the Medieval period to the age of the Renaissance, principally in the cities of Rome, Florence, Milan, Venice and Naples.

Development of Quattrocento styles

Quattrocento art shed the decorative mosaics typically associated with Byzantine art along with the Christian and Gothic media of and styles in stained glass, frescoes, illuminated manuscripts and sculpture. Instead, Quattrocento artists and sculptors incorporated the more classic forms developed by Roman and Greek sculptors.

List of Italian Quattrocento artists

Since

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