25.04.

1472: Leon Battista Alberti – The Ingenious Predecessor of Leonardo da Vinci

1472: Leon Battista Alberti – The Ingenious Predecessor of Leonardo da Vinci
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 25 April 1472
  • Much like Leonardo, Alberti also dealt in a very wide range of professions - he was an architect, poet, linguist, lawyer, mathematician, painter, sculptor, and even a cryptographer. Indeed, he allegedly achieved most progress in the development of encryption in Europe since the days of Julius Caesar.

Leon Battista Alberti, probably the earliest example of a versatile Renaissance man, like the one Leonardo da Vinci later became, died on this day.

Namely, Alberti was born nearly half a century before the famous Leonardo, and was in some way Leonardo’s predecessor. Much like Leonardo, Alberti also dealt with a very wide range of professions – he was an architect, poet, linguist, lawyer, mathematician, painter, sculptor, and even a cryptographer. In Italian, such versatile individuals are often referred to as “uomo universale” (universal man).

It is interesting that Leon Battista Alberti was also an illegitimate son, as was Leonardo. However, unlike Leonardo, Alberti did get his father’s surname (da Vinci only marks Leonardo’s birthplace). In architecture, Alberti remained famous for designing the Renaissance facades of palaces and churches.

Particularly interesting is the fact that Alberti did cryptography (information encryption theory). Indeed, some call him the “Father of Western Cryptography” and it is claimed that he made the most significant advance in encryption in Europe since Julius Caesar’s time. At the time when Alberti died in Rome, young Leonardo da Vinci was only 20 years old.

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