1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Alberti, Leone Battista

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ALBERTI, LEONE BATTISTA (1404-1472), Italian painter, poet, philosopher, musician and architect, was born in Venice on the 18th of February 1404. He was so skilled in Latin verse that a comedy he wrote in his twentieth year, entitled Philodoxius, deceived the younger Aldus, who edited and published it as the genuine work of Lepidus. In music he was reputed one of the first organists of the age. He held the appointment of canon in the metropolitan church of Florence, and thus had leisure to devote himself to his favourite art. He is generally regarded as one of the restorers of the ancient style of architecture. At Rome he was employed by Pope Nicholas V. in the restoration of the papal palace, and of the foundation of Acqua Vergine, and in the ornamentation of the magnificent fountain of Trevi. At Mantua he designed the church of Sant' Andrea and at Rimini the celebrated church of San Francesco, which is generally esteemed his finest work. On a commission from Rucellai he designed the principal façade of the church of Santa Maria Novella in Florence, as well as the family palace in the Via della Scala, now known as the Palazzo Strozzi. Alberti wrote works on sculpture, Delia Statua, and on painting, De Pictura, which are highly esteemed; but his most celebrated treatise is that on architecture, De Re Aedificatoria, which has been translated into Italian, French, Spanish and English. Alberti died at Rome in the April of 1472. See Passerini, Gli Alberti di Firenze (1869, 1870); Mancini. Vita di Alberti (Firenze, 1882); V. Hoffmann, Studien zu Leon Battista Albcrti's zehn Büchern: De Re Aedificatoria (Frankenberg, 1883).