In commemoration of the birth of Leonardo da Vinci (15 Apr 1452 – 2 May 1519), the 15th of April has been declared World Art Day. The idea was born at the 2012 General Assembly Meeting of the International Association of the Arts (IAA) in Guadalajara, Mexico.
As the World Art Day website notes, “the turmoil our world is currently living through, needs the power that freedoms of thought, and speech can bring to this tumultuous world. And who better to lead this effort than the artists of this world.”
It is hoped that the day will help in spreading an international awareness of the arts.
By having World Art Day coincide with the birth of da Vinci, rather than any number of other equally renowned and deserving artists, the day also hints at the importance of the arts, and artistic thinking, beyond the strictly fine arts domain. In addition to being a brilliant painter and sculptor, da Vinci excelled as a philosopher, mathematician, architect, engineer and inventor. The great Renaissance Man, da Vinci showed that greatness could be achieved at the intersection between art, science and technology. As such, da Vinci’s birthday is the perfect day “to commemorate the role of art in the contemporary world, with its complex artistic, social and political layers.”
So join me in taking some time to remind ourselves of the key role art plays in our lives, and to show appreciation for the artists who make the world a better, more meaningful and more aesthetically agreeable place. I don’t even want to begin imagining the emptiness and poverty of a world bereft of art.