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Leon Battista Alberti, Italian polymath Featured Leon Battista Alberti Print

Leon Battista Alberti, Italian polymath

Leon Battista Alberti (1404-1472), Florentine artist and polymath. Alberti was born at Genoa and educated at Padua. In 1418 he went to Bologna to study law. In the early 1430s he went to Rome and took holy orders as a priest. Alberti had a gift for architecture and designed many buildings as well as writing several influential treatises. He regarded mathematics as the only common gound between art and science and used it to link art with the natural world. He was the first to codify the geometry of linear perspective as described by Brunelleschi, essential to much of Renaissance art. He also applied mathe=matics to cryptography, devising the first polyalhabetic cipher and a Cipher Disk for machine-assisted encryption. This woodcut comes from Giovio's Elogia vivorum litris illustrium, published at Basel in 1577