Outline of Italian Art History: Late Middle Ages

1208 Abbey of Fossanova is consecrated.

1210 Iacopo di Lorenzo and his son Cosma design the portal of the cathedral at Civita Castellana (Lazio). It will serve as a model for Brunelleschi's Pazzi Chapel at Santa Croce (Florence).

1217 Abbey of Casamiri is consecrated: fine example of Cistercian Gothic architecture.

1219-1227 Construction of the great abbey church of Sant'Andrea at Vercelli (Piemonte).

1235 Bonaventura Berlinghieri paints the Life of St. Francis (of Assisi) for the church of San Francesco at Pescia (Tuscany). Byzantine influence.

1240 Frederick II of Swebia builds Castel del Monte near Andria (Puglia). The town of Aquila (Abruzzi) is also founded by this emperor.

1253 Basilica of San Francesco in Assisi (Umbria) is consecrated.

1255 Consecration of the crypt of the cathedral of Anagni (Lazio). Roman painters incorporate Gothic (northern Europoean) elements to traditional Byzantine ones.

1260 Nicolo Pisano fuses classical elements with Gothic elements in his pulpit for the Baptistry at Pisa. In so doing, he breaks with the Romanesque tradition and launches Italian sculpture into the Gothic age.

1261 Coppo di Marcovaldo paints the Madonna del Bordone for the church of Santa Maria dei Servi at Siena. Still under the influence of Byzantine art, this work will influence future Sienese artists, especially Guido da Siena.

1265 Nicolo Pisano and his assistant Arnolfo di Cambio complete the pulpit of the cathedral of Siena (modeled after the one in Pisa).

1266 The Papal palace and loggia at Viterbo is built in Gothic style.

1272 Cimabue is painting in Rome. His contact with ancient Roman and early Christian (5th century) art gives greater drama and statuesque modelling to his figures. After his stay in Rome, Cimabue goes to Assisi to paint in the Basilica di San Francesco.

1276 Arnolfo di Cambio is in Rome working on the tomb of Cardinal Annibaldi in the church of San Giovanni in Laterano (Saint John the Lateran).

1284 Giovanni Pisano, son and assistant of Nicola Pisano, works with his father on the fountain at Perugia. He becomes the person in charge of completing the facade of the cathedral at Siena. His statues in the lower facade are among the best examples of Italian Gothic sculpture.

1285 Duccio di Buoninsegna paints the Madonna Rucellai for the Laudesi chapel in Santa Maria Novella (now at the Uffizi). It reflects the influence of Cimabue, French Gothic miniature painting, and some Byzantine art.

1285 (?) Fresco cycles representing Genesis and Passion of Christ are painted at the Basilica of San Francesco at Assisi. These may have been done by Giotto, in his youth. Ten years later Giotto will paint the fresco cycle depicting the life of Saint Francis in the same church. All these frescoes reveal new ways of modelling the human body, and of representing space by using depth and perspective.

1290 Guccio di Mannaia makes a chalice for Pope Nicholas IV with medallions made of translucent enamel at the base. This design, which has nothing in common with Byzantine art, will become wide spread throughout Europe.

1292 Manfredino d'Alberto completes a fresco cycle for the church of San Michele at Genoa. It reflects the fast spreading influence of Cimabue.

1295 Giovanni Torriti completes the mosaic Coronation of the Virgin in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. He and other artists in Rome, especially Pietro Cavallini (active between 1270-1291), are engaged in reinterpreting ancient Roman techniques and formal modes of representation, marking a break with Byzantine traditions.

1296 Arnolfo da Cambio is in Florence designing the new cathedral (Duomo) of Santa Maria del Fiore.

1301-1302 Cimabue does the mosaic of Saint John the Evangelist for the cathedral at Pisa. He also does the painting Maestà della Vergine (now at the Louvre in Paris).

1305 The Scrovegni Chapel in Padova (Veneto) is consecrated with the famous fresco cycle by Giotto.

1306 Three French goldsmiths complete the silver bust of San Gennaro in Naples (French artists were not uncommon in the Angevin court).

1308 Duccio di Buoninsegna paints the Madonna in Maestà altarpiece which reveals Giotto's influence.

1310-1330 L. Maitani designs the facade and bas-reliefs of the cathedral at Orvieto.

1310 Giovanni Pisano and his assistants complete the pulpit for the cathedral (Duomo) at Pisa, a masterpiece of Italian Gothic sculpture.

1317 Simone Martini of Siena is invited by King Robert of Anjou to paint in Naples. His paintings combine the influence of Giotto with that of French Gothic painting. In Naples he paints Saint Ludwig of Toulouse crowning King Robert of Anjou.

1320 Pietro Lorenzetti paints an altarpiece in Arezzo (Tuscany) which combines Giotto's use of space and Duccio's primitivism with Giovanni Pisano's dramatic representation of the relationship between Madonna and Child.

1324-1337 Ambrogio Lorenzetti (Pietro's brother) paints the Maestà, and, along with other painter, paintings the Good and Bad Government in Siena's Palazzo Comunale. The naturalism of this cycle will influence later French and Flemish paintings.

1330-1336 Andrea Pisano, a goldsmith and sculptor, is working in Florence on the south doors of the Baptistry. He applies Giotto's use of space to sculpture, giving birth to a new school of Florentine sculpture which will reach its peak in the works of Luca Della Robbia.

1333 Simone Martini paints L'Annunciazione.

1334 Giotto designs the Campanile (belfry) for the Duomo of Florence. Andrea Pisano does the bas-reliefs at the base of the campanile; they represent the different guilds of Florence.

1342 Pietro Lorenzetti paints the Birth of the Virgin (in Siena) and Ambrogio Lorenzetti paints the Presentation at the Temple (now in Uffizi in Florence).

1343 Matteo Giovannetti of Viterbo paints the Papal Palace at Avignon (France).

1343-1345 Paolo Veneziano and his sons paint the great golden and jewelled altar for the Basilica of San Marco in Venice.

1345 Vitale da Bologna paints the Madonna dei Denti in Bologna. He is the chief representative of the Bolognese school of Gothic painting.

1347 Tommaso of Modena paints a fresco cycle at the church of San Niccolò in Treviso (Veneto) representing the members of the Dominican Order.

1348 The Black Death (Bubonic Plague) hits Italy, killing one third of the population. Its influence on the art is evident: Florentine art grows stiff and becomes more conservative; archaic formulas are back in use.

1365 Giovanni da Milano paints the Storie della Vergine for the Rinuccini Chapel in Santa Croce (Florence). He represents scenes from everyday life, using a wide array of colors. During this same period of time, Andrea da Firenze paints an allegory of the Dominican Order for the same church.

1379 Altichiero of Zevio completes the frescoes in the chapel of St. James (now St. Felix) in the Santo in Padua (the church where St. Anthony is buried). It is both complex and modern in its choral representation of the figures, its use of space, architectural details, and costumes. It is regarded as one of the most exceptional pictorial works of the second half of the 14th century. Tuscany is no longer the sole dominating force in the world of Italian art: the great courts at Milan, Padua, and Verona begin investing in works of art on a large scale.

1382 The Loggia of the Signoria (also known as the Loggia of the Lanzi) in Florence is completed. Agnolo Gaddi designed the sculpted representations of the Virtues on the facade. Modeled after the loggias of aristocratic family houses, this Loggia was designed for public ceremonies organized by the city government.

1384 Antonio Veneziano paints scenes from the life of Saint Ranieri in the Camposanto (cemetery) at Pisa. In the years that follow, either Buffalmacco or Traini paint the Triumph of Death frescoes. Taddeo Gaddi and Piero di Puccio also paint in the Camposanto. Shortly thereafter, Pisa will fall under Florentine control; it is the last time that this once-powerful maritime republic will employ artists from so many different parts of Italy to work on a major enterprise.

1387 Construction begins on the Duomo of Milan (the world's largest Gothic cathedral). The main altar will be consecrate in 1418, but the rest of the church (excluding the 19th century facade) will only be completed in 1572. German, Flemish, French, as well as Italian architects will be involved in building this, the greatest European enterprise of the end of the 14th century.

1390 At around this time Cennino Cennini, a Florentine painter and pupil of Agnolo Gaddi, writes his Treatise on Painting. This work not only describes all the techniques used and the artistic procedures adopted by Italian artists of the late Middle Ages, but also the strict regulations governing the use of artistic materials. His treatise reveals the great importance given by Italian artists to drawing and design in the planning of a work of art.

1390 Work begins on the cathedral of San Petronio in Bologna. Iacopo Della Quercia, as a young man, works on the facade's decorations. This church, completed in the 17th century, reflects typical Italian Gothic elements: it is simple, well-proportioned, and very luminous.

1391 Nanni di Banco creates a sculptural masterpiece in the Mandorla Portal of the church of Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence. Iacopo Della Quercia also works here, and Donatello begins his career as a sculptor working on this Portal.

1393 Large altarpieces (triptyches) carved in bone by Florentine sculptors, especially the Ebriachi, are very much in demand in European courts, especially in Burgundy.

1400 Around this time Filippo Villani writes his history of Florence and it citizens. Among its illustrious citizens appear painters like Giotto, who are placed at the same level of judges, physicians, and scientists. Artists are no longer viewed negatively as partitioners of a mechanical art, but rather as masters of a liberal art. As a result, the figure of the artist acquires significant social importance, and art itself becomes part of the social and cultural values of Florence.

1401 The city of Florence sponsors a competition to determine who will do the panels for the second door of the Baptistry. Of the twelve artists that entered the competition, there were three finalist: Ghiberti, Brunelleschi, and Iacopo Della Quercia. Ghiberti barely beat Brunelleschi, and Iacopo came in third. This will mark the beginning of the Florentine Renaissance.