Leon Battista Alberti Biography
(Architect and Principal Initiator of Renaissance Art Theory)
Birthday: February 14, 1404 (Aquarius)
Born In: Genoa, Italy
Leon Battista Alberti was the quintessential ‘Renaissance Man’ considering his expertise in architecture, literature, humanism, the languages, painting and related arts. Alberti’s father belonged to a wealthy family in Florence and although he grew up in Genoa for a variety of reasons, he received a first class humanist education at a boarding school. Alberti did not study the arts formally as he studied law when he went to university, albeit against his wishes, but when he graduated he did not pursue a legal career but instead took up a job in the Papal Chancery. Alberti rose to great prominence as he went on to become the architectural advisor to Pope Nicholas V and oversaw the construction and redesign of plenty of famous monuments and churches across Italy. Although Alberti wasn’t an established painter, he wrote a book titled ‘On Painting’ that looked at the work of some of the best known artists and this was regarded as his seminal work and according to Giorgio Vasari, ‘He spent his time finding out about the world and studying the proportion of antiquities’. He also wrote a book on grammar in Tuscan that was published a few centuries after his death.