Leonardo da Vinci/World Art Day

Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer Leonardo da Vinci was born April 15 1452. He epitomized the Renaissance humanist ideal and was described as the archetype of the Renaissance Man, a man of “unquenchable curiosity” and “feverishly inventive imagination”. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest painters of all time and one of the most diversely talented person ever to have lived. Born out of wedlock to a notary, Piero da Vinci, and a peasant woman, Caterina, at Vinci in the region of Florence, Leonardo was educated in the studio of the renowned Florentine painter, Verrocchio. Much of his earlier working life was spent in the service of Ludovico il Moro in Milan. He later worked in Rome, Bologna and Venice, and he spent his last years in France at the home awarded him by Francis I. Leonardo was and is renowned primarily as a painter.

Among his works, the Mona Lisa is the most famous and most parodied portrait and The Last Supper the most reproduced religious painting of all time, with their fame approached only by Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam. Leonardo’s drawing of the Vitruvian Man is also regarded as a cultural icon, being reproduced on items as varied as the euro, textbooks, and T-shirts. Perhaps fifteen of his paintings survive, the small number because of his constant, and frequently disastrous, experimentation with new techniques, and his chronic procrastination. Nevertheless, these few works, together with his notebooks, which contain drawings, scientific diagrams, and his thoughts on the nature of painting, compose a contribution to later generations of artists only rivalled by that of his contemporary, Michelangelo. Leonardo is revered for his technological ingenuity. He conceptualised a helicopter, a tank, concentrated solar power, a calculator, the double hull, and he outlined a rudimentary theory of plate tectonics. Relatively few of his designs were constructed or were even feasible during his lifetime, but some of his smaller inventions, such as an automated bobbin winder and a machine for testing the tensile strength of wire, entered the world of manufacturing unheralded. He also made important discoveries in anatomy, civil engineering, optics, and hydrodynamics, however he did not publish his findings and they had no direct influence on later science.

Vitruvian Man

To mark the anniversary of the birth of artist Leonardo Da Vinci an international celebration of the fine arts entitled World Art Day was declared by the International Association of Art (IAA) in order to promote awareness of creative activity worldwide. It was started after a proposal was put forward at the 17th General Assembly of the International Association of Art in Guadalajara to declare April 15 as World Art Day, with the first celebration held in 2012. This proposal was sponsored by Bedri Baykam of Turkey and co-signed by Rosa Maria Burillo Velasco of Mexico, Anne Pourny of France, Liu Dawei of China, Christos Symeonides of Greek Cyprus, Anders Liden of Sweden, Kan Irie of Japan, Pavel Kral of Slovakia, Dev Chooramun of Mauritius, and Hilde Rognskog of Norway. It was accepted unanimously by the General Assembly.The date was decided in honor of the birthday of Leonardo da Vinci. Da Vinci was chosen as a symbol world peace, freedom of expression, tolerance, brotherhood and multiculturalism as well as art’s important to other fields.

The first World Art Day on April 15, 2012 was supported by all IAA national committees and 150 artists, from France, Sweden, Slovakia, South Africa, Cyprus and Venezuela, but the intention of the event is universal. Events varied from special museum hours to conferences and more. For example Venezuela held outdoor art exhibitions with paintings, sculptures, prints, video and more, as well as a Florentine cooking demonstration in honor of Da Vinci.More events were held in 2013 all over the world including the Mbombela municipal art museum in South Africa. However, some of the events which have taken place to mark World Art Day have caused controversy, particularly the recent celebrations in Sweden when the Swedish minister of Culture, Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth, cut into the genitals of a cake representing a black African woman. The performance art was meant to be a statement against genital mutilation but many found the depiction racist. World Art Day has also been supported online, especially by the Google Art Project.

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