ALBERTI, Leon Battista

ALBERTI, Leon Battista
   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 degree in 1428. Able to return to Florence the following year, he began his career as an author, writing books on upper-middle-class family life, painting, sculpture, and architecture. His architectural treatise, finished in 1452 and titled De re aedificatura, is dedicated to his patron in Rome, Pope Nicholas V. This treatise is the first since antiquity and was modeled on the Roman treatise by Vitruvius. Like Vitruvius, Alberti defined ideal architecture as that which demonstrates strength, utility, and beauty. He also updated Vitruvius's classical orders by canonizing the Composite order of columns, which Vitruvius considered merely a late variant of the Corinthian. Alberti's treatise is less of a practical manual, however, and more of a theoretical discussion of the aesthetics of classical architecture, considered the ideal style in the Renaissance.
   Alberti put his ideals into practice with his Tempio Malatestiano, built in the 1450s as a funerary church for the ruler of Rimini, Sigismondo Malatesta. Despite the fact that it lacks its originally planned dome over the crossing of the nave, this stone building recalls a classical temple in its façade, which is made to recall the design of a Roman triumphal arch, and in its basilica interior, which has piers lightly carved with Roman motifs. His later church of Sant'Andrea in Mantua, from 1472, is Alberti's most fully formed classical building. Here, a colossal arch rises up over the central door, flanked by side wings with separate entrances. Thus, the façade is divided into three parts separated by smooth colossal Corinthian pilasters that rise up to the entablature, creating an elevated porch entrance into the church. The façade is further divided into three parts vertically, by the placement of two arches over each side entrance to create three stories. Finally, a frieze separates the lower levels from the triangular pediment that caps the sloping, unfinished roofline. Entering the building under the coffered portico, the visitor immediately recognizes that the interior of the church matches the exterior in height, proportion, and design. The vast coffered barrel vault provides an expansive Latin-cross plan, with a nave flanked by side aisles. It was the Latin-cross church plan that Alberti used here, which was the most practical in organization and size. Thus, with these churches one can see how Alberti sought to infuse a rational approach to his ideal architecture by providing not only overt classical references but also a visual harmony and order that suited Renaissance aesthetics.

Historical Dictionaries of Literature and the Arts. . 2008.

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  • 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 — 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)    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… …   Dictionary of Renaissance art

  • 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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