April 15 – World Art Day

and Happy Birthday, Leonardo da Vinci
Posted on April 15, 2015

The whole world is encouraged to make art, talk about art, enjoy art, and support art today.

When we say “the arts,” we are talking about many different fields from music and theatre to sculpture and glasswork, from large-scale landscape installations to miniature designs painted on the head of pin, from poetry and other forms of literature to dancing and painting and sculpture and handicrafts...

The organization that created World Art Day, the International Association of Art, concentrates on the visual arts. They chose the date because today is Leonardo da Vinci's birthday!

Leonardo was a visual artist – he painted and sculpted – but he wasn't JUST a visual artist. He was a polymath to put all other polymaths to shame, with architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, as well as painter and sculptor, strung out behind his name in encyclopedias and biographies.

This generalist still managed to really contribute to multiple fields – he wasn't just a dabbler! Perhaps you will are familiar with a few of his paintings?

Mona Lisa
The Last SupperAnd you may have seen this drawing, also by Leonardo:
Vitruvian Man

Leonardo is considered one of the greatest painters of all time, and some consider him the most diversely talented person in the world. He certainly was imaginative and creative!

Also, his logical viewpoint and empirical methods were “before his time.” In other words, he was interested in viewing the world as it really was, rather than as he wished it to be, and he was interested in gathering evidence to show how the world worked and, even, how animals worked.

Here are some facts about Leonardo's life:
  • He was born in Vinci, in the region of Florence, on this date in 1452. (His birthplace is located in present-day Italy.)
  • Even though Leonardo looks positively ancient in some of his portraits, he was only 67 years old when he died in 1519.
  • Leonardo's parents were a peasant woman and a notary. He was lucky to have been educated in the studio of a famous painter.
  • Leonardo lived, not just in Vinci and Florence, but also in Rome, Bologna, Venice, and France.

  • Leonardo's genius was acknowledged during his lifetime and all the centuries since. During his lifetime, the King of France gave him a house, supported him in his “old age,” and is even said to have held him in his arms as he died. Nowadays, people still wear Leonardo's most famous works on T-shirts, and take university courses that focus on his notebooks, and even name teenage mutant ninja turtles after him!

Find out more about Leonardo in this earlier post

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