ALBERTI, Leon Battista
(b. 1404, Genova, d. 1472, Roma)

Biography

Italian architect, humanist, antiquarian, mathematician, art theorist, "universal man" of the Early Renaissance. He is principally famous as an architect, but is also known to have practised as a painter and sculptor. The only work attributable to him in these arts is the plaque, said to be a self-portrait, in Washington. His importance in the arts of painting and sculpture is on account of his theoretical writings, De Sculptura and especially Della Pittura (1435), which gives the first exposition in the Renaissance of the theory of perspective as well as of History Painting. His influential treatise Della Pittura (On Painting) was the first modern manual for painters. It was circulated in manuscript until 1540, when it was first printed.