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Caspar Pearson (Lecturer in 13th to 17th Century History of Art, Warburg Institute): 'Representation and the City: Alberti on Politics and the Theory of Art'

In the mid-1430s, Leon Battista Alberti wrote, in quick succession, a treatise on the family and a treatise on painting. Around the same time, he began his first lengthy stay in Florence, the city from which his father had been banished in 1401 and to which the Alberti family had only been readmitted in 1428. This paper explores these two texts, considering how Alberti’s theory of art, in the De pictura, might bear upon his treatment of politics and the city-states in the De familia, and focusing especially on his brief but evocative discussions of two of Florence’s most prominent buildings: the cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore and the Palazzo del Popolo (Palazzo Vecchio). 

The Work in Progress seminar explores the variety of subjects studied and researched at the Warburg Institute. Papers are given by invited international scholars, research fellows studying at the Institute, and third-year PhD students.