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From Unfinished Masterpieces to Celebrating Creativity: World Art Day and Leonardo Da Vinci’s Contribution to the Arts

Smriti Malhotra

Did you know that there was a specific day earmarked to celebrate the arts? Did you know that this day coincides with the birthday of an Important Historical figure? Let’s learn about World Art Day and about the unfinished works of Leonardo Da Vinci to remember him on his birthday.

Leonardo Da Vinci
Courtesy: Museum of Science

World Art Day was established by the International Association of Arts (IAA) in 2011 and was proclaimed at the 40th session of UNESCO’s General Conference in 2019. It is celebrated each year on the 15th of April to promote the arts and encourage individuals to tap into their own creativity. World art day celebrates the human spirit and the different parts of the world that weaves us as a community. World art day is a reminder to connect with the arts and to explore our own artistic creativity, be it with visual arts, music, dancing or other performance arts. Art is what makes us human and what binds us to limit our loneliness and gives us hope in times of absolute despair. Art is food for our soul and this day reminds us to transcend our differences and sink deeper into the beauty of art and our own creative spirits.

World Art Day is celebrated in various manners across the world with art exhibitions, fairs, performances, workshops and festivals in cities and towns showcasing their vernacular and global talents. One of the primary goals of World Art Day is to promote the importance of art in society. Art has the power to inspire, challenge, and transform. It helps us see the world with new perspectives, to empathise and it gives expression to our innermost thoughts and ideas that otherwise we wouldn’t know how to express.

April 15th was chosen as the date for World Art Day coincides with the birthday of Leonardo Da Vinci, who was not only an artist but also a scientist and philosopher during the Renaissance period. World Art Day serves as a tribute to his great artistic and scientific legacy. On this day, we celebrate the great polymath of Italy that gave us the Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, and the Vitruvian Man but we also celebrate the continuation of his art serving as an inspiration to many artists and scientists that came after him who have enriched human lives.

Speaking about the many paintings of Leonardo Da Vinci, let’s talk about one of the most famous unfinished paintings by the renowned artist, the ‘Adoration of the Magi’, in the piece we have three wise men visiting baby Jesus and Mary in Bethlehem from the East that come to give Christ three gifts, Frankincense, Myrrh and Gold. It is almost a perfect square, the now restored painting hangs at Florence’s Uffizi Gallery. This artwork was painted in the year 1481-82 until it was left unfinished by Da Vinci. This painting was commissioned by Augustinian monks of San Donato but ultimately it landed in the Medici collection.

Adoration of the Magi,Leonardo Da Vinci. Courtesy: The Uffizi Galleries

The painting before it was conserved by a team of esteemed researchers and conservators of an institute of the Italian Culture Ministry, it showcased the viewers the under-drawings and sketching to the visitors. The artwork which was unfinished by the artist now stands “finished” and conserved in its home, in Florence, Italy. The painting showcases the various emotions of the people around Jesus and the skill with which Da Vinci painted all the human figures with much precision and care. The Adoration of the Magi remains a fascinating and beautiful work that captures the spirit of Leonardo’s artistic vision. It is a testament to his skill as an artist and his enduring influence on the world of art.

Another unfinished artwork by Leonardo Da Vinci is Saint Jerome in the Wilderness, this was painted around 1483 and left uncompleted, it now hangs in the Vatican Museums. The unfinished painting showcases Saint Jerome, a saint in the Christian Church who lived out the twilight years of his life as a hermit in the desert. Leonardo Da Vinci’s inner workings and creative process is rather visible in his unfinished works of art. If one takes a much closer look at the paint on the painting, one might even notice his fingerprints.

Saint Jerome in the Wilderness by Leonardo Da Vinci. Courtesy: Daily Art Magazine

The collision between Leonardo Da Vinci and World Art Day gives us an idea of the impact that this brilliant artist had on the arts and how he changed the meaning of art. His work still amazes and inspires many artists and viewers, his mastery and understanding of human anatomy and composition as well as technique make him one of the most renowned figures in the history of art. World Art Day reminds us of such artists and beautiful works of art and how the arts could shape our society and reality. Let us honour the legacy of a true Renaissance man on World Art Day and always remember the beauty and power of art.

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