Historical Arts Timeline

How to use this timeline

This timeline is meant as a helpful guide to the relative chronology of artistic and cultural movements through history. It can help you to place trends, people and events in context, and it can suggest potential fields of interest, but it won’t tell you why someone or something is important. For detailed information on a particular event, please consult a specialist source.
Many dates may be approximations, and should be checked before citation. Note that dates of birth are especially likely to be surmised from other known details.

This Timeline is copyright © Thor Ewing 2006
Like other timelines, it owes a substantial debt to Werner Stein’s Kulturfahrplan of 1946, and its English translation by Bernard Grun.

1385BC Pharoah Akhenaten’s cultural revolution instates new artistic styles.
1200BC Epic of Gilgamesh recorded
C11thBC Rg Veda compiled from traditional hymns.
C10thBC Iliad and Odyssey (attributed to Homer) take their final shape
C9thBC Hesiod, poet
630BC Birth of Zoroaster (Zarathustra), founder of Zoroastrianism (d.553BC)
620BC Birth of Sappho, poet (d.570)
580BC Birth of Anacreon, poet (d.495)
550BC Birth of Gautama, the Buddha, founder of Buddhism (d.480)
525BC Birth of Aeschylus, playwright (d.456)
520BC Birth of Pindar, poet (d.447)
500BC Birth of Phidias, sculptor (d.435)
496BC Birth of Sophocles, playwright (d.406)
485BC Birth of Herodotus, historian (d.424)
484BC Birth of Euripides, playwright (d.406)
470BC Birth of Socrates, philosopher (d.399)
450BC Birth of Aristophanes (d.387)
448-33BC Rebuilding of the Acropolis, Athens, designed by Ictinus and Callicrates
430BC Birth of Xenophon, historian (d.354)
427BC Birth of Plato, philosopher (d.347)
420BC Birth of Polyclitus, sculptor (d.465)
400BC Birth of Praxiteles, sculptor (d.330)
399BC Socrates executed
Birth of Aristotle, philosopher (d.322)
Birth of Epicurius, philosopher (d.271)
334BC Birth of Zeno of Citium, philosopher (d.262BC)
Birth of Appolonius of Rhodes, poet (d.215)
275BC Completion of the Colossus of Rhodes (destroyed by earthquake 224)
250BC Birth of Plautus, comic writer
200BC Inscription of Rosetta Stone
195BC Birth of Terence, playwright (d.159)
Venus of Milo, sculpture
87BC Birth of Catullus, poet (d.54)
70BC Birth of Vergil, poet (d.19)
Birth of Horace, poet (d.8)
43BC Birth of Ovid, poet (d.AD18)
4BC Probable date of birth of Jesus of Nazareth, worshipped by Christians
AD43 Birth of Martial, poet (d.120)
Birth of Plutarch, historian (d.120)
58 Birth of Juvenal, poet (d.138)
114 Birth of Apuleius, satirist
150 Ptolemy’s Geographia
338 Birth of Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, hymn-writer (d.397)
382 Pope Damasus I commisions Jerome’s Vulgate text of the Bible
395 Birth of Ambrosius Theodosius Macrobius, writer and philosopher (d.423)
410 Birth of Proclus, philosopher (d.485)
425 Foundation of university at Constantinople
480 Birth of Boëthius, philosopher (d.524)
Birth of Benedict of Nursia, founder of Western monasticism (d.547)
487 Death of Apollinaris Sidonius, poet
490 Birth of Procopius, historian (d.562)
523-4 Boëthius’s Consolatio Philosophiae
535 Birth of Fortunatus Venantinus, poet (d.600)
mid-C6th Early Welsh poets Taliesin and Aneurin
540 Birth of Gregory of Tours, historian (d.594)
542 Gildas’s De excidio
560 Birth of Bishop Isidore of Seville, scholar (d.636)
570 Birth of Mohammed, founder of Islam (d.632)
597 Augustine establishes a monastery in Canterbury
622 Isidore’s Etymologiae
672 Birth of Bede, scholar and historian (d.735)
686 Caedmon composes the earliest extant English verse
692 Ceolfrid commissions Codex Amiatinus, the earliest extant copy of the Latin Vulgate Bible
709 Death of Bishop Aldhelm of Sherborne, poet and writer
731 Bede’s Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum
735 Birth of Alcuin, scholar and poet (d.804)
770 Birth of Einhard, scholar (d.840)
784 Birth of Hrabanus Maurus, poet (d.856)
late C8th Cynewulf, poet
c.800 Hildebrandslied
c.820 Heliand
early C9th Bragi Boddarson, poet
805 Birth of Gottschalk, poet (d.870)
830 Louis the Pious destroys Charlemagne’s collection of Germanic epics
832 Utrecht Psalter, illuminated manuscript
840 Birth of Notker Balbulus, poet and musician (d.912)
845 Vivian Bible, illuminated manuscript
849 Birth of Alfred the Great, king of Wessex and translator (d.899)
850 Foundation of university at Salerno
861 Norse discovery of Iceland
late C9th Thjodolf at Hvin, poet
Thorbjörn Hornklofi, poet
‘Sequence of St. Eulalia’, earliest known poem in Old French
935 Birth of Hrotsvitha of Gandersheim, dramatist and poet (d.1002)
mid C10th
Egill Skallagrímsson, poet
mid C10th
Eyvindr Skaldaspillir, poet
late C10th
Einar Skallaglam, poet
970 The Exeter Book, compilation of English poetry
980 Birth of Avicenna, philosopher (d.1037)
1027 Birth of Omar Khayam, poet and astronomer (d.1123)
mid C11th Ruodlieb
1064 Ezzolied
1067 ‘The Bayeux Tapestry’, narrative embroidery
1070 Birth of Guillaume de Poitou, troubadour (d.1127)
1079 Birth of Peter Abelard, philosopher poet and composer (d.1142)
1090 Birth of Hugh ‘Primas’, secular poet (d.1160)
1110 Earliest record of a miracle play
1119 Foundation of university at Bologna
1125 Theophilus’s De Diversis Artibus (‘On Diverse Arts’)
1126 Birth of Averroës, scholar and philosopher
1140 Birth of Bertran de Born, troubadour (d.1215)
1144 Birth of Chrétien de Troyes, poet (d.1190)
1147 Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia regum Britanniae
1148 Nivardus of Ghent’s Ysengrimus
1150 Foundation of university in Paris
Birth of Saxo Grammaticus, historian (d.1220)
1167 Beginnings of university in Oxford
1170 Birth of Walter von der Vogelweide, Minnesinger (d.1230)
1172 Birth of Wolfram von Eschenbach, poet (d.1220)
Birth of Walter von der Vogelweide, minnesinger (d.1230)
1174 Campanile, or ‘Leaning Tower’, of Pisa
late C12th Marie de France’s Lais
Birth of Snorri Sturluson, scholar and poet (d.1241)
1176 Roman de Renard
1180-90 Chrétien de Troyes’s Perceval (Le Conte del Graal) with later continuations
1182 Birth of Francis of Assisi, founder of Franciscan Order (d.1226)
1185 Andreas Capellanus’s De Amore
1191-1204 Niebelungenlied
1193 Birth of Albertus Magnus, philosopher (d.1280)
1200 Carmina Burana Hartmann von Aue's Der arme Heinrich
1201 Façade of cathedral of Nôtre Dame
1203 Wolfram von Eschenbach’s Parzival
1203 Foundation of university at Sienna
1204 Foundation of university at Vicenza
1205 Birth of Tannhäuser, minnesinger (d.1270)
1209 Beginnings of university in Cambridge
1210 Gottfried von Strassburg’s Tristan und Isolde
1214 Birth of Roger Bacon, philosopher and scientist (d.1294)
1217 Foundation of university at Salamanca
1225 Birth of Thomas Aquinas, philosopher (d.1274)
Guillaume de Lorris’s Roman de la Rose
1229 Foundation of university at Toulouse
1230 Birth of Hugo von Trimberg, poet (d.1313)
1235 Birth of Jacob van Maertant, poet (d.1295)
1239 Birth of Adam de la Halle, trouvère and playwright (d.1287)
1240 Birth of Cimabue, painter (d.1302)
Guido Guinizelli, poet, establishes dolce stil nuovo
1245 Birth of Giovanni Pisano, sculptor (d.1320)
1249 Work begins on the Alhambra
1250 Birth of Heinrich von Meissen ‘Frauenlob’, Meistersinger (d.1318)
1254 Birth of Marco Polo, traveller and writer (d.1324)
1260 Birth of Meister Eckhart, mystic (d.1327)
1265 Birth of Dante Alighieri, poet (d. 1321).
1266 Birth of Giotto, painter (d. 1337)
Birth of Duns Scottus, theologian (d.1308)
1270 Birth of Giovanni da Cascia, composer
1274 Thomas Aquinas' Summa Theologica
1282 Birth of Juan Manuel, poet (d.1348)
1284 Birth of Simone Martini, painter (d.1344)
1285 Adam de la Halle’s Jeu de Robin et Marion
1289 Foundation of university at Montpellier
1290 Birth of Philippe de Vitry, composer (d.1361)
Birth of Andrea Pisano, sculptor (d.1349)
Foundation of university at Lisbon
Dante’s La Vita Nuova
1300 Birth of Guillaume de Machaut, composer (d.1377)
Birth of William of Ockham, scholar (d.1349)
Aucassin et Nicolette, chant fable
1301 Birth of Antonio Pucci, poet (d.1390)
1303 Foundation of university at Rome
1304 Birth of Petrarch, poet (d. 1374)
Beginning of the ‘Babylonish Captivity’, when rival Popes ruled from Avignon and Rome (ends 1377)
1307 Dante begins his Commedia (‘Divine Comedy’)
1309 Foundation of university at Orléans
1313 Birth of Boccaccio, writer (d.1375)
1314 Execution of Jaques de Molay, Grand Master of the Knights Templar
1320 Birth of John Barbour, poet (d.1395)
1325 Birth of Francesco Landino, composer (d.1397)
1328 Birth of John Wycliffe, radical cleric (d.1384)
1329 Philippe de Vitry coins the term ars nova
1330 Birth of John Gower, poet (d.1408)
1337 Birth of Jean Froissart, chronicler (d.1410)
1338 Foundation of university at Pisa
1339 Foundation of university at Grenoble
1340 Birth of Geoffrey Chaucer, poet (d.1400)
1341 Petrarch crowned poet
1346 Birth of Eustache Deschamps, poet (d.1405)
1347-51 The Black Death, Europe devastated
1348 Boccaccio begins his Decameron.
1362-1387 William Langland’s Piers Plowman (includes first extant mention of Robin Hood in literature)
1365 Foundation of university at Vienna
1369 Birth of John Dunstable, composer (d.1453)
Birth of Leonardo Bruni, humanist (d.1444)
Chaucer’s The Book of the Duchesse
1370 Birth of Hubert van Eyck, painter (d.1426)
Birth of John Lydgate, poet (d.1451)
1371 Birth of Jacopo della Quercia, sculptor (d.1438)
1375 John Barbour’s Bruce
1376 Birth of Pérez de Guzmán, writer (d.1460)
1377 Birth of Filippo Brunelleschi, artist and architect (d.1446)
1378 Birth of Lorenzo Ghilberti, sculptor (d.1455)
1378-1417 The Great Schism
1380 Birth of Thomas à Kempis, mytsic (d.1471)
1381 The Peasants’ Revolt
Chaucer’s House of Fame
1384 Chaucer’s The Parlement of Fowles
1385 Birth of Alain Chartier, poet (d.1450)
Chaucer’s Troilus and Cryseide
1386 Birth of Donatello, sculptor (d.1466)
Foundation of university at Heidelberg
1387 Birth of Fra Angelico, painter (d.1455)
Chaucer begins his Canterbury Tales.
1388 Birth of Leonardo Giustiniani, poet (d.1446)
1389 Birth of Marques de Santillana, poet (d.1458)
1390 Birth of Jan van Eyck, painter (d.1441)
1394 Birth of Charles d’Orléans, poet (d.1465)
1396 Birth of Johannes Gutenberg, printer (d.1468)
Birth of Michelozzo di Bartolommeo, architect
1397 Birth of Antonio Pisano ‘Pisanello’, painter (d.1450)
1399 Birth of Guillaume Dufay, composer (d.1474)
Birth of Luca della Robia, sculptor (d.1482)
1400 Birth of Gilles Binchois, composer (d.1460)
Froissart’s Chronicles
1401 Birth of Masaccio, painter (d.1428)
Birth of Nicolas of Cusa, philosopher (d.1464)
1405 Birth of Stephen Lochner, painter (d.1451)
1406 Birth of Fra Filippo Lippi, painter (d.1469)
1409 Foundation of university at Leipzig
1410 Birth of Dirk Bouts, painter (d.1475)
Birth of Conrad Paumann, composer and organist (d.1473)
1411 Foundation of university at St Andrews
1412 Filippo Brunelleschi’s ‘Rules of Perspective’
1418 Birth of Henry Abyngdon, composer and organist (d.1497)
1420 Birth of Piero della Francesca (d.1492)
Birth of Jean Foquet, painter (d.1480)
Birth of Dafydd Nanmor, bard (d.1485)
Brunelleschi designs dome for Florence Cathedral
1425 Alain Chartier’s La Belle Dame sans Merci
1426 Foundation of university at Louvain
1428 Birth of Giovanni Bellini, painter (d.1516)
1430 Birth of Johannes Okegham, composer (d.1494)
Birth of Jakob Obrecht, composer (d.1505)
1431 Birth of François Villon, poet (disappears 1463)
Foundation of universities at Caen and Poitiers
1432 Birth of Luigi Pulci, poet (d.1484)
1433 Birth of Hans Memling, painter (d.1494)
Birth of Marsilio Ficino, philosopher and scholar (d.1499)
1434 Birth of Matteo Maria Bogardo, poet and humanist (d.1494)
The ‘Arnolfini Marriage’ by Jan van Eyck
1435 Birth of Michael Pacher, painter and woodcarver (d.1498)
1436 Birth of Andrea del Verrocchio, painter and sculptor (d.1488)
Birth of Joannes de Tinctoris, writer on music (d.1511)
1440 Birth of Hugo van der Groes, painter (d.1482)
1441 Birth of Luca Signorelli, painter (d.1523)
Birth of Rudolf Agricola, humanist (d.1485)
1444 Birth of Sandro Botticelli, painter (d.1510)
Birth of Donato Bramante, architect (d.1514)
Foundation of Biblioteca Medicea Laurenziana by Cosimo de’ Medici
1446 Birth of Pietro Perugino, painter (d.1523)
1447 Foundation of university at Palermo
1449 Birth of Domenico di Tomaso Bigordi (Ghirlanajo), painter (d.1494)
1450 Birth of Hieronymous Bosch, painter (d.1516)
Birth of Josquin des Prés, composer (d.1521)
Birth of Heinrich Isaak, composer (d.1517)
Birth of Veit Stoss, sculptor (d.1533)
Foundation of Vatican Library
1451 Birth of Franchino Gafori, writer on music (d.1522)
Foundation of university at Glasgow
1452 Birth of Leonardo da Vinci, artist and scientist (d.1519)
1453 Fall of Constantinople
Conrad Paumann’s Fundamentum organisandi
1457 Birth of Filippino Lippi, painter (d.1504)
1458 Birth of Jacopo Sannazaro, poet (d.1530)
Turks sack the Acropolis
1459 Birth of Paul Hofhaimer, composer organist (d.1537)
c.1460 Birth of John Skelton, poet (d.1529)
Birth of William Dunbar, poet (d.c.1520)
1461 Villon’s ‘Ballade des Dames du Temps Jadis’
1463 Birth of Pico de Mirandola, humanist (d.1494)
1465 Birth of Erasmus, scholar and humanist (d.1536)
Birth of Hans Holbein the Elder, painter (d.1524)
First printed music
1466 First German printed Bible
1469 Birth of Niccolò Machiavelli, politician and writer (d.1527)
Birth of Juan del Encina, playwright (d.1529)
1470 Birth of Gil Vincente, poet and actor (d.1536)
Birth of Willibald Pirckheimer, humanist (d.1530)
1471 Birth of Albrecht Dürer, artist (d.1528)
1473 Birth of Nicolaus Copernicus, astronomer (d.1543)
1474 William Caxton prints first book in English (at Bruges)
1475 Birth of Michelangelo Buonarotti, artist (d.1564)
1477 Birth of Tiziano Vecelli (Titian), painter (d.1576)
Blind Harry’s Wallace (The Actes and Deidis of the Illustre and Vallyeant Campioun Schir William Wallace)
Caxton prints Canterbury Tales
1478 Birth of Thomas More, Catholic humanist (d.1535)
Birth of Baldasare Castiglione, courtier and writer (d.1529)
1479 Foundation of university at Copenhagen
1480 Birth of Palma Vecchio, painter (d.1528)
Birth of Georg Faust, magician
Robert Henryson’s Morall Fabillis of Esope the Phrygian
1481 Birth of Baldasse Peruzzi, architect and painter (d.1536)
1483 Birth of Marin Luther, religious reformer (d.1546)
Birth of Raffaelo Santi (Raphael), painter (d.1520)
Birth of Dosso Dossi, painter (d.1542)
1484 Botticelli’s Birth of Venus
Tinctoris’s De inventione et usu musicae
1485 Birth of Clement Janequin, composer (d.1559)
Birth of Sebastiano del Piombo, painter (d.1547)
Caxton prints Thomas Malory’s Hoole Booke of Kyng Arthur (as Le Morte Darthur)
1486 Birth of Jacopo Sansovino, architect (d.1570)
Birth of Andrea del Sarto, painter (d.1531)
1490 Beginnings of ballet at Italian courts
1491 Birth of Ignatius Loyola, founder of Jesuits (d.1556)
1492 Birth of Margaret de Navarre, writer (d.1549)
Birth of Pietro Arentino, writer (d.1556)
Birth of Juan Louis Vives, humanist (d.1540)
Birth of Ludwig Senfl, composer (d.1543)
1493 Birth of Baccio Bandinelli, sculptor (d.1560)
Birth of Barthel Bruyn, painter (d.1555)
Birth of Agnolo Firenzuolo, poet (d.1543)
Birth of Anna Bijns, poet (d.1575)
1494 Birth of François Rabelais, writer (d.1553)
Birth of Antonio Allegri (Correggio), painter (d.1534)
Birth of Rosso Fiorentino (Jacopo di Rosso), painter (d.1541)
Birth of Hans Sachs, poet and mastersinger (d.1576)
Birth of Lucas an Leyden, painter (d.1533)
Birth of Jacopo Carucci (Potormo), painter (d.1556)
Birth of Alessandro Bonvicino (Moretto), painter (d.1555)
Foundation of King’s College, Aberdeen
Jean Mauburnus’s Rosetum exercitiarum spiritualium
1495 Birth of John Taverner, composer (d.1545)
Jacopo Sannazzaro’s Arcadia
1496 Birth of Clément Marot, poet (d.1544)
Francisco Gafori’s Practica Musica
1497 Birth of Hans Holbein the Younger, painter (d.1543)
1499 Birth of Sir Thomas Elyot, writer translator (d.1546)
Foundation of university at Alcalá

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