Sant’Andrea of Mantova

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Leon Battista Alberti, 1404–72

Mantua (Mantova), Italy; 1470–82

Destined to become a prominent figure of the Renaissance, Leon Alberti was born into a rich family and had an excellent education. He wrote on a wide variety of subjects, including painting, horses, the family and architecture – and he did much to bring about the contemporary change in taste that led to a re-evaluation of ancient buildings.

Only one treatise on architecture has survived from ancient Rome: De architettura by Vitruvius, written in the first century BCE. Roman ‘books’ were scrolls, rather than having bound pages like modern volumes, and the ten ...

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