Alberti was born in Genoa in 1404 and died in Rome in 1472. He was the archetype of the Renaissance's 'universal man,' as he was a master of many respectable trades, including painting.
His book "Dell Pittura, (On Painting)" revolutionized the history of art with his pioneering treatise on the theory of art. It had immediate and profound influence on Italian Renaissance artists including Ghiberti, Fra Angelico and Veneziano and on later figures such as Leonardo da Vinci, and remains a compelling theory of art.
In his prologue, Alberti states that his work consists of three books: 'the first, all mathematics, concerning the roots in nature which are the source of this delightful and most noble art. The second book puts the art in the hand of the artist, distinguishing its parts and demonstrating all. The third introduces the artist to the means and the end, the ability and desire of acquiring perfect skill and knowledge in painting.'
If you are looking for a great resource on painting that was read and respected by the great masters of art, I highly recommend Alberti's "On Painting."