Alberti, Leon Battista


Alberti, Leon Battista
(1404-1472)
   After Filippo Brunelleschi's death in 1446, Alberti became the leading architect of the Renaissance. He was born into a noble family that had been exiled from Florence in 1402 and was educated in the universities of Padua and Bologna, where he studied law. He is known to have traveled extensively, visiting different cities in Italy, Germany, and the Low Countries. In 1432, Alberti became an apostolic abbreviator at the Vatican, which gave him the opportunity to study the ancient ruins of Rome. In 1446, his friend Tommaso Parentucelli ascended the papal throne as Nicholas V and appointed the architect advisor on papal restoration projects. Alberti was not only an architect but also a writer. He contributed treatises on architecture, painting, sculpture, poems, comedies, the family, and even horses. His De re aedificatoria provides the earliest proper account of the classical architectural orders of the Renaissance era. His treatise on painting disseminated the one-point linear perspective technique, thought to have been developed by Brunelleschi. Alberti was in fact such an admirer of Brunelleschi that he dedicated the treatise to him. He also built upon the architectural principles of order, balance, and symmetry established by his predecessor to create some of the most influential buildings of the Renaissance. In the jubilee year of 1450, Sigismondo Malatesta, Lord of Rimini, was in Rome to participate in the celebrations, and there he met Alberti. In Rimini, the architect Matteo de' Pasti was working on the Tempio Malatestiano, a shrine meant to commemorate Sigismondo's deeds and serve as his funerary chapel. Alberti criticized Pasti's design, so Malatesta invited him to provide plans for a new exterior. These he provided and Pasti was forced to carry out the work based on Alberti's design. The project was halted in 1461 when Sigismondo had a fall-out with the pope that resulted in his public excommunication. In Florence, Alberti provided the façade for the Church of Santa Maria Novella in c. 1456-1470. Financed by Giovanni Rucellai, Alberti here applied the same geometric and mathematical principles that Brunelleschi had used. His design became the prototype for the façade of Il Gesù (1568-1584) in Rome, the first Baroque church built. Giovanni also commissioned from Alberti the Palazzo Rucellai (beg. c. 1453) for use as his family residence. Based on Michelozzo's design for the Palazzo Medici, the building uses the Colosseum principle, with orders that change at each level and become lighter and more feminine as the building ascends — the first domestic structure of the Renaissance to employ this feature. In 1460, Alberti began work on the Church of San Sebastiano, Mantua, for Duke Ludovico Gonzaga, a building altered in the early 20th century to serve as a war memorial. Alberti conceived the original structure as a Greek cross plan, the first of its kind from the Renaissance, with an upper and lower church. In 1470, he also began work on the Church of Sant' Andrea, Mantua, also for the Gonzaga duke, as repository for the relic of the holy blood of Christ brought by St. Longinus to the city. The theoretical treatises Alberti wrote, coupled with his humanistic approach to building, raised the field of architecture to a scientific level. With this, Alberti paved the way for 16th-century masters, such as Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo, who expended great effort to elevate the status of art from manual labor to liberal art and that of the artist from craftsman to divinely inspired creator.

Historical dictionary of Renaissance art. . 2008.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Alberti (Leon Battista) — Leon Battista Alberti Pour les articles homonymes, voir Alberti. Sa statue au piazzale des Offices de Florence Leon Battista Alberti …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Alberti, Leon Battista — born Feb. 14, 1404, Genoa died April 25, 1472, Rome Italian architect, art theorist, and humanist. After pursuing a literary career as papal secretary, in 1438 Alberti was encouraged to direct his talents toward the field of architecture. His… …   Universalium

  • ALBERTI, Leon Battista — (1404 1472)    Leon Battista Alberti, the leading theorist in Renaissance Italy, was born into a noble Florentine family expelled to Venice. It was in Padua that Alberti first studied classical humanism, and in Bologna that he received a law… …   Historical Dictionary of Architecture

  • Alberti,Leon Battista — Al·ber·ti (äl bârʹtē), Leon Battista. 1404 1472. Italian writer, musician, mathematician, and artist whose influential treatises on painting, architecture, and sculpture introduced classical ideas into Renaissance art. * * * …   Universalium

  • Alberti, Leon Battista — (1404 1472)    Italian humanist and architect, unusual in that he bridged the social gap between the educated humanist and the practicing artist. Born at Genoa as the illegitimate son of an exiled Florentine banker, he studied law at Bologna but… …   Historical Dictionary of Renaissance

  • Alberti, Leon Battista — (14 feb. 1404, Génova–25 abr. 1472, Roma). Arquitecto, teórico del arte y humanista italiano. Después de seguir una carrera literaria como secretario papal, en 1438 fue incentivado a orientar sus talentos hacia el campo de la arquitectura. Sus… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Alberti, Leon Battista — (1404 1472), Architekt (u. a.: Palazzo Rucellai in Florenz, Sant Andrea in Mantua und Tempio Malatestani in Rimini) und Architekturtheoretiker (De Re Aedificatoria), der sich auf Vitruv stützte …   Erläuterung wichtiger Begriffe des Bauwesens

  • Leon Battista Alberti — (Génova, Italia, 18 de febrero de 1404 Roma, 20 de abril de 1472) fue sacerdote, Secretario Personal (abreviador apostólico) de tres Papas (Enrique IV, Nicolás V, Pio II)(desde 1431 a 1464), humanista, arquitecto, proyectó edificios aunque nunca… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Léon Battista Alberti — Leon Battista Alberti Pour les articles homonymes, voir Alberti. Sa statue au piazzale des Offices de Florence Leon Battista Alberti …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Leon Battista Alberti — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Alberti. Sa statue au piazzale des Offices de Florence Leon Battista Alberti (né le 18 février& …   Wikipédia en Français


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