Information in the Degree Programme Tables may still be subject to change in response to Covid-19

University Homepage
DRPS Homepage
DRPS Search
DRPS Contact
DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : Architecture - History

Postgraduate Course: Leon Battista Alberti (1404-72) as Writer and Architect (ARHI11005)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThe course considers Leon Battista Alberti (1404-72) as an observer of contemporary practice and as the advocate of a practice to some extent aiming at a revival of classical values, one, at the same time, systematic and naturalistic.
Course description Alberti (1404-72) wrote treatises on painting, sculpture and architecture. In intending to be a comprehensible voice on matter for which a familiar critical and theoretical language was not generally current, he set himself a difficult task. By education at Padua and Bologna and as a scholarly employee of the Papal court, he was equipped for it. But no less was he prepared by his close familiarity with the practice of the arts themselves. He was moved to undertake the task by his confidence that moral and social life are sustained by the visual arts.

The course considers Alberti as an observer of contemporary practice and as the advocate of a practice to some extent aiming at a revival of classical values, one, at the same time, systematic and naturalistic. In addition, Alberti, though by background and education, entitled to depreciate the mechanical arts, painted, it is reported, sculpted, it is argued, and designed as an architect, it is universally acknowledged. As an educator, Alberti was also an advocate of architecture as an activity worthy of an erudite patron. He was instrumental, in the longer spread of history, in establishing the credentials of the visual arts, perhaps especially architecture, as proper concerns (bringing corresponding rewards in esteem) of the prince. The standing of the artist himself was raised by Alberti's advocacy. Alberti's practice and his advocacy was peripatetic. The spread of Renaissance values beyond Tuscany was in part owing to his travels around the courts of Italy. Following in Alberti's footsteps, the course will trace this process of colonisation or evangelization from Florence of the Rucellai to Rome of the Popes, Ferrara of the Este, Rimini of the Malatesta, Urbino of the Montefeltro and Mantua of the Gonzaga.

A full schedule of lectures and tutorials will be available in the course handbook.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate an extensive understanding, in terms of content and method, of the history of art and architecture of the fifteenth century in Italy.
  2. Demonstrate a critical understanding how contemporary literature (particularly the writings of Alberti) reflected and interacted with art and architecture of the period.
  3. Demonstrate the ability to construct a sophisticated art and architectural-historical argument, informed by analysis of primary sources and corrected by critical awareness with regard to secondary texts.
Reading List
A full bibliography will be available in the course handbook.
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills At the end of this course the student will be able, through tutorial discussions and coursework, demonstrate:
- enhanced abilities in research, critical thinking, weighing up of arguments and evidence
- understanding of complex issues and how to draw valid conclusions from the past
- production of innovative research pieces that adhere to bibliographical convention
- enhanced writing skills
Course organiserDr Jim Lawson
Tel: (0131 6)50 2619
Course secretaryMiss Jennifer Watson
Tel: (0131 6)50 2010
Help & Information
Search DPTs and Courses
Degree Programmes
Browse DPTs
Humanities and Social Science
Science and Engineering
Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Other Information
Combined Course Timetable
Important Information