Filarete, IL

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Filarete, IL ( Antonio di Pietro Averlino (c.1400–69)). Florentine sculptor and architect, his pseudonym, by which he is known, means ‘Lover of Virtue’ (or Virtù). His importance lies in his promotion of the early Renaissance style, and in his Trattato d'architet-tura or Libro architettonico (1461–4), which was widely circulated, though not published until C19: Vasari had no high opinion of it. It includes plans for ideal cities (Sforzinda and Plousiapolis) as well as an ingenious ten-storey House of Vice and Virtue complete with whorehouse and observatory. It also proposed (perhaps taking the basic idea from Vitruvius) using the Greek Orders to suggest social classes, a form of associationism. He seems to have designed Bergamo Cathedral (from 1455— extensively rebuilt in C17), but his major architectural work was the Ospedale Maggiore (Cà Granda), Milan, designed on a complex symmetrical plan, only part of which was built, including arcades (1456) rather coarser than Brunelleschi's work in Florence. However, the idea of designing for the isolation of patients into wards probably makes the Milan building the first scientific modern hospital of our era, and was influential in the following centuries. He may have been involved in the design of the Cà del Duca, Venice (1445–61).


Filarete (1965);
Heydenreich (1996);
Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, xxxiv (1971), 96–114, xxxv (1972), 391–7;
P. Murray (1986);
Onians (1988);
Patetta (1987);
Tigler (1963);
E. Welch (1995)