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Florentine architect, 1404 - 1472

Alberti devoted himself to the study of Latin and the practice of architecture, perspective, and painting, and he left to posterity a number of books which he wrote himself. Now none of our modern craftsmen has known how to write about these subjects, and so even though very many of them have done better work than Alberti, such has been the influence of his writings on the pens and speech of scholarly men that he is commonly believed to be superior to those who were, in fact, superior to him.

"Leon Battista happened to arrive in Rome during the pontificate of Nicholas V, who was turning the city upside down with his building projects, and he was befriended by his holiness. Using [the architect] Bernardo Rossellini to carry out the ideas supplied by Alberti, the Pope went ahead with many useful and commendable projects." I-210
Descriptio urbis Romae
"Subsequently, Alberti went to serve Sigismondo Malatesta, ruler of Rimini, for whom he designed the church of San Francesco, notably its marble facade, as well as the arcade of large arches facing the south and containing the sarcophagi for illustrious citizens." I-210

Tempio Malatestiano, Rimini
Tempio Malatestiano (arches and sarcophagi)
"Such was the quality of Alberti's work that it ranks without question as one of the foremost churches in Italy. It has six very lovely chapels, the one dedicated to St James being extremely ornate and containing many relics which originally came from Jerusalem." I-210

Tempio Malatestiano (interior)
Tempio Malatestiano (interior)
"Then in 1457, the year when the German Johann Gutenberg discovered his very useful method for printing books, Alberti similarly discovered a way of tracing natural perspectives and effecting the diminution of figures, as well as a method of reproducing small objects on a large scale; these were very ingenious and fascinating discoveries, of great value for the purposes of art." I-210
From 'De Pictura'
"In Leon Battista's time, meanwhile, Giovanni di Paolo Rucellai wished to build in marble, at his own expense, the principal facade of Santa Maria Novella; he consulted Alberti, who was a close friend of his, and, receiving not only advice but a model as well, Rucellai finally determined to have the work done as a memorial for himself." I-210
Santa Maria Novella, Florence
"So a start was made, and the facade was finished in 1477, to the great satisfaction of the people who were especially delighted with the door; and so it is clear that Alberti took exceptional trouble over this project." I-210

Santa Maria Novella (door)
Santa Maria Novella (detail)

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