The Black Death (bubonic plague) hit Italy the hardest out of Europe, with the death toll as high as 50 to 60 percent. It had a major effect on art throughout the 5 or so years the plague was around. It inspired religious bequests and encouraged the commissioning of devotional images. Humanism emerged during the 14th century and became a central component of much of Italian art and culture in the 15th and 16th centuries. Humanism−mainly the renewed interest in the classical−was a necessary part of Italian Renaissance art and culture that developed in the 14th century and reached its peak in the 15th and 16th centuries.