Alberti

Alberti

[ahl-ber-tee]
Alberti, Domenico, c.1710-c.1740, Venetian singer, harpsichordist, and composer. The Alberti bass (which he used but probably did not invent) is a broken, left-hand chord accompaniment frequently employed in 18th-century keyboard music.
Alberti, Leone Battista, 1404-72, Italian architect, musician, painter, and humanist, active at the papal court, Florence, Rimini, and Mantua. Alberti was the first architect to argue for the correct use of the classical orders during the Renaissance. His ecclesiastical works include the exteriors of the churches of San Francesco in Rimini (begun 1451), Sant' Andrea in Mantua (c.1470), and part of the facade of Santa Maria Novella in Florence (c.1458-70). On the facade of the Palazzo Rucellai in Florence (c.1452-70), Alberti used tiers of superimposed classical orders, as inspired by such antique buildings as the Roman Colosseum. Alberti was the author of several important treatises on the visual arts. His De re aedificatoria, written c.1450, became the first printed book on architecture (1485). Although largely dependent on Vitruvius, it was the first modern work on the subject, and it included important new material. His treatise on painting (1436) was the first book in this field to treat theory as well as technique. His treatise on sculpture (c.1464) was another pioneering work in its field, and it was significant for its discussion of human proportions.

See his On Painting, tr. by J. R. Spencer (rev. ed. 1966) and his Ten Books of Architecture, tr. by G. Leoni (1755, repr. 1986); biography by A. Grafton (2000).

Alberti, Rafael, 1902-99, Spanish poet. After abandoning an earlier career as a painter, Alberti published his first book, Marinero en tierra [sailor on dry land] (1925), which was widely applauded. He was a member of the "Generation of 1927," which also included such figures as Vicente Aleixandre, Luis Buñuel, and Federico García Lorca. Alberti's poems show the influence of Juan Ramón Jiménez and of the Spanish classics, especially of Góngora. His poetic brilliance is revealed in Concerning the Angels (1929, tr. 1967), a collection of introspective lyrics with surrealist overtones. A Loyalist in the Spanish civil war, Alberti sought exile in Buenos Aires, Argentina, after Franco's triumph in 1939. Temporarily living in a number of cities including Paris and Rome, he did not return to Spain until 1977. His later poetry is enhanced by an intimate, spiritual lyricism. Alberti was also a noted playwright.

See selected poems tr. by M. Strand (1973) and by J. Elgurriaga and M. Paul (1981).

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