The Renaissance lasted from the late 13th to early 16th century and came about in part due to the Black Death, which intensified peasant uprisings. The savagery of the Ciompi revolts of Florence created an atmosphere of fear and hatred that encouraged the aristocracy to support princes and tyrants that promised to restore law. In 1453 the Ottomans conquered Constantinople, and Greek philosophers fled westward.
Another key event of the Renaissance was the publication of the "Gutenberg Bible" in 1454, which brought print to the European nobility. Lorenzo de Medici took power in Florence in 1469 and started an art school that produced Renaissance painters and sculptors, most notably Michelangelo.
In 1499 the French conquered Milan, enabling the increased spread of Renaissance influence into France. Although not directly related to the Renaissance, Columbus discovered the Americas in 1492, his voyage aided by the technological and astrological advancement of the era.
The Renaissance was heavily influenced by classical Greek and Roman culture, seeking to capture the mystery and beauty of the natural world. Though Renaissance artists produced great works of art, at the time their religious paintings and sculptures were used as devotional aids. By the late 1500s, Renaissance art was on the decline and being replaced by the Mannerist style.