Italy celebrates Leonardo da Vinci on 500th anniversary of his death
ROME. KAZINFORM Italy on Thursday marked the 500th anniversary of the death of Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci, kicking off what authorities are calling "the year of Leonardo" that will end on April 15, the anniversary of the master's birth, Xinhua reports.
Born in 1452 near the Tuscan village of Vinci (hence his designation as "da Vinci", which means "from Vinci"), Leonardo went on to become a prolific painter, anatomist, architect, scientist, engineer, set designer, and inventor, embodying the quintessential Renaissance man with his interdisciplinary approach to art and science.
"The year of Leonardo begins today," Education Minister Marco Bussetti said at the inauguration of an event called "Futura Leonardo" at Rome's Castel Sant'Angelo, a castle overlooking the Tiber River running through Rome that was built around the 123 A.D. mausoleum of the ancient Roman Emperor Hadrian and his family.
"Few individuals, like Leonardo, have had the strength and the capacity to create the future," the minister told a gathering of students and officials.
"His ideas, the development of his machines, his use of drawing and perspective, his engineering projects, laid the bases for scientific, industrial, and technological discoveries in the centuries that followed."
Leonardo, said Bussetti, was "a great protagonist of Humanism" and "the eclecticism and heterogeneity of his intellectual and artistic activity make him a perfect figure symbolizing the ways in which knowledge today must be understood."
The minister also reminded participants that Italians are Leonardo's heirs: "our roots derive from him, which is why it is our civic duty to know our past, to safeguard and appreciate it, to bring it back to life in the present so that it can stimulate our future."
"We are what we are thanks to what we have been, and we are granted a future only in relation to the tradition that defines us as a civilization," Bussetti said.
Art historian and critic Vittorio Sgarbi commented that "Leonardo is not dead: he is inside every one of us -- a man who knew that our perfection is in the mind. His mind was capable of everything -- he really thought there would be a time when humans would fly."