Leon Battista Alberti was an Italian Renaissance humanist author, artist, architect, poet, priest, linguist, philosopher, and cryptographer; he epitomised the nature of those identified now as polymaths.
Although he often is characterized exclusively as an architect, as James Beck has observed, "to single out one of Leon Battista's 'fields' over others as somehow functionally independent and self-sufficient is of no help at all to any effort to characterize Alberti's extensive explorations in the fine arts". Although Alberti is known mostly for being an artist, he was also a mathematician of many sorts and made great advances to this field during the fifteenth century. The two most important buildings he designed are the churches of San Sebastiano and Sant'Andrea, both in Mantua.
Alberti's life was described in Giorgio Vasari's Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects.