Thursday, March 01, 2012

The Truly Renaissance Man

In the movie Renaissance Man, teacher Bill Rago (Danny DeVito), uses the example of
Leon Battista Alberti to demonstrate the renaissance nature of an individual who values learning and education as a means of making the most of oneself. Rago explains to Private Jackson Leroy (Richard T. Jackson) that despite the resume of Alberti including his work as an author, artist, architect, poet, priest, linguist, philosopher, cryptographer and general Renaissance humanist polymath, the only reason he remembers him is because Alberti could broad jump over a standing man. Leroy who has been burned by his ties to win at all cost athletics which have left him with very little future comes to understand that is is possible to be a "smart jock".  An oxymoron to Leroy who comes to appreciate that he can encourage his son to embrace education as well as any and all talents he may wish to pursue including athletics.

Leon Battista Alberti who left his mark on Renaissance Society through contributions in:
*      Alberti’s treatise De Pictura, was the first truly scientific study of art utilizing mathematical perspective.
*      Alberti worked with other artists of the Renaissance to create a handbook for the artist.
*      Alberti wrote one of the most  influential works on architecture the De Re Aedificatoria.
*      Alberti’s comedy in latin, called Philodoxius, was originally credited to be a genuine work of 'Lepidus Comicus'.
*      He is credited with being the designer, of the woodcut  illustrations in the fantasy noverl Hypnerotomachia Poliphili.
*      Alberti took a great interest in architecture his work can be connected to, restoration of the papal palace and the Roman aqueducts under Pope Nicholas the V, the church of Sant’ Andreream San Franceso and the façade of the Santa Maria Novella,shrine of the Holy Sepulchre. He is also credited with working on the Palazzo Rucellai and the Villa Medici in Fiesole.
*      Alberti was an accomplished cryptographer inventing the first polyalphabetic cipher.  The Alberti cipher led to his being referred to as the “Father of Western Cryptography.
*      In his autobiography Alberti notes that he was an accomplished musician, poet, painter, cartographer, astrologer and astornomer.
*      According to Alberti he was capable of "standing with his feet together, and springing over a man's head."

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