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The cultural and artistic events of Italy during the period 1400 to 1499 are collectively referred to as the Quattrocento (UK: /ˌkwætrˈɛnt, -trəˈ-/, US: /ˌkwɒtrˈ-/,[1][2][3][4] Italian: [ˌkwattroˈtʃɛnto]) from the Italian word for the number 400, in turn from millequattrocento, which is Italian for the year 1400. The Quattrocento encompasses the artistic styles of the late Middle Ages (most notably International Gothic), the early Renaissance (beginning around 1425), and the start of the High Renaissance, generally asserted to begin between 1495 and 1500.

Historical context[edit]

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 people regained their authority.

In the late Middle Ages, the political structure of the European continent slowly coalesced from small, turbulent fiefdoms into larger, more stable nation states ruled by monarchies. In Italy, urban centers arose, populated by merchant and trade classes 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 Italian Renaissance, principally in the cities of Rome, Florence, Milan, Venice, Naples. The period saw the fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire, and it has been compared with the Timurid Renaissance which unfolded at the same time in Central Asia.[5]

Development of Quattrocento styles[edit]

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

List of Italian Quattrocento artists[edit]

Since the Quattrocento overlaps with part of the Renaissance, it would be inaccurate to say that a particular artist was Quattrocento or Renaissance. Artists of the time probably would not have identified themselves as members of a school or period.

Also see the list of 27 prominent 15th century painters made contemporaneously by Giovanni Santi, Raphael Sanzio's father as part of a poem for the Duke of Urbino.

See also[edit]

  • Duecento – the 13th century in Italian culture
  • Trecento – the 14th century in Italian culture
  • Cinquecento – the 16th century in Italian culture
  • Seicento – the 17th century in Italian culture
  • Settecento – the 18th century in Italian culture
  • Ottocento – the 19th century in Italian culture
  • Novecento – the 20th century in Italian culture


  1. ^ "Quattrocento". Collins English Dictionary. HarperCollins. Retrieved 1 June 2019.
  2. ^ "quattrocento" (US) and "quattrocento". Oxford Dictionaries UK Dictionary. Oxford University Press. Retrieved 1 June 2019.
  3. ^ "quattrocento". The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language (5th ed.). Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Retrieved 1 June 2019.
  4. ^ "quattrocento". Merriam-Webster Dictionary. Retrieved 1 June 2019.
  5. ^ Ruggiero, Guido (15 April 2008). A Companion to the Worlds of the Renaissance, Guido Ruggiero. ISBN 9780470751619. Archived from the original on 8 November 2016. Retrieved 7 November 2016.
  6. ^ Stokes, Adrian D. (2002) Quattro cento ; and, Stones of Rimini Adrian Durham Stokes, https://books.google.com/books/about/Quattro_cento_and_Stones_of_Rimini.html?id=TsIL1ziKIQEC&lang=en Penn State Press. Original: 1932; footnote on p. 23

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]

The dictionary definition of quattrocento at Wiktionary


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