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1400 - The 15th Century
The fifteenth century marked the beginning of the European Renaissance and saw Europe make stronger connections with the rest of the world. It was the heart of the renaissance in Italy and the century when Gutenberg introduced the printing press to Europe and enabled a rapid circulation of ideas. Interest in Europe’s elite and merchant classes and a revival of roman art and architecture gave rise to close imitation of Classical forms and ornament applied to both architecture and artefact. It was also the century of the development of Netherlandish Painting (1400-1500). It was a century in which the Silk Road was the world’s greatest thourghfare and when trade between Europe and East Asia became possible via sea routes to India in 1498 thus creating a new and powerful middle class of traders and merchants and the end of the importance of feudal governments in Europe. It is a century peppered with warfare as Joan of Arc turned the tide of the Hundred Years war, The Wars of the Roses fractured England, The Italian Wars disrupted peace in Italy at the end of the century and Constantinople fell to the Ottomans marking the end of the Byzantine Empire. The first European possessions began in northern Africa as the Portuguese captured Ceuta and the Aztecs began to expand through Central America. The end of the century saw the voyage of Christopher Columbus and founding of Spain’s first New World colony. Gothic art continues to develop and retained its popularity through Europe.
Michelangelo - Copyright 2008 - This project has been funded with support from the European Commission