Who Was Leon Battista Alberti?

A True Renaissance Man

L B Alberti
Italian poet, architect, musician, philosopher, painter and sculptor Leon Battista Alberti (1404 - 1472), posing with a pair of compasses, circa 1460.

Hulton Archive/Getty Images 

Leon Battista Alberti was also known as Battista Alberti, Leo Battista Alberti, Leone Battista Alberti. He was a humanist philosopher, writer, Renaissance architect, and art theorist. He was also known for pursuing philosophical, artistic, mathematics, scientific and athletic endeavors, making him one of the most well-rounded thinkers of his age.

Leon Battista Alberti is considered by many scholars to be a quintessential Renaissance "universal man" of learning. In addition to painting, designing buildings, and writing scientific, artistic and philosophical treatises, Leon Battista Alberti wrote the first book on Italian grammar and groundbreaking work on cryptography.

He is credited with inventing the cypher wheel, and it was said that from a standing position, with his feet together, Leon Battista Alberti could jump over a man's head.


  • Artist & Architect
  • Cleric
  • Philosopher
  • Engineer & Mathematician
  • Writer

Places of Residence and Influence

  • Italy

Important Dates

  • Born: Feb. 14, 1404, Genoa
  • Died: April 25, 1472, Rome

Quotation From Leon Battista Alberti

  • "I certainly consider a great appreciation of painting to be the best indication of a most perfect mind."
  • "I will never tire of recommending the custom, practiced by the best architects, of preparing not only drawings and sketches, but also models of wood or any other material. These... enable us to examine... the work as a whole... and, before continuing any further, to estimate the likely trouble and expense."
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Snell, Melissa. "Who Was Leon Battista Alberti?" ThoughtCo, Aug. 28, 2020, thoughtco.com/leon-battista-alberti-1788352. Snell, Melissa. (2020, August 28). Who Was Leon Battista Alberti? Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/leon-battista-alberti-1788352 Snell, Melissa. "Who Was Leon Battista Alberti?" ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/leon-battista-alberti-1788352 (accessed March 27, 2023).