61 — Leon Battista Alberti — 1/2 — De Re Aedificatoria
In this first episode of a two parter, we tackle the original big beautiful bouncing boy of the High Italian Renaissance, Leon Battista Alberti, and his 1485 blockbuster publication, On the Art of Building in Ten Books. After Vitruvius' original Ten Books, De Re Aedificatoria represents only the second explicitly architectural treatise in the history of Western Architecture. Alberti's work covers everything you'd need to start building and much more, including: sacrificial animal murder; mysterious gases that leak from the ground; how best to control a mob; endless quotations from Classical sources and some ruminations on the nature of beauty. We also discuss the historical context of Renaissance Italy, Florentine class-warfare shenanigans and the many strange and unexpected twists and turns of this enigmatic cornerstone of the canon. In the second episode we will be discussing Alberti's buildings!
Edited by Matthew Lloyd Roberts.
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