Anniversaries 2017 -
200th anniversary of the birth of Ivan Aivazovsky, painter (1817-1900) (joint nomination by Armenia and the Russian Federation, with the support of Italy) (2017)
Ivan Aivazovsky (Hovhannes Aivazian) is considered one of the greatest marine artists in history. Having Armenian origins and education in the Russian Academy of Arts in Saint Petersburg as well as several years’ experience of studying in Europe, Aivazovsky influenced Russian, Armenian and world Art. During his sixty-year career, Aivazovsky produced around 6,000 paintings. He is best known for his paintings of seascapes and coastal scenes, which are symbolic and allegoric. Depicting waves, clouds and airspace the painter emphasized the light, which is the interpretation of the light of the creation. He also created a number of works about important events of Bible and Armenian history as well as works depicting oriental scenes and portraitures. Aivazovsky held an unprecedented number of individual exhibitions and contributed to a number of exhibitions in Russia, Europe and the United States.
The celebration of the anniversary will support UNESCO’s objectives of strengthening intercultural dialogue for the rapprochement of cultures, promoting of heritage and fostering creativity, as well as disseminating and exchanging information from local to global level.
600th anniversary of the death of Nasimi (Sayyid ‘Imād-ad-Dīn), poet (1369-1417) (with the support of Kazakhstan, Iran (Islamic Republic of) and Turkey) (2017)
Nazimi (Imad-ad-Din) was born in Shamakha, Shirvan khanate (part of modern-day Republic of Azerbaijan). The great poet has left vast and precious poetic legacy in Azerbaijani, Persian and Arabic languages. His poetry has made a significant impact on the development of Azerbaijani as well as Ottoman Turkish poetic languages over the centuries. The ideas of free spiritual choice and principle of universal love guided the poet towards tolerance, looking above the boundaries, seeking the image of God hidden in every single human being. In this sense his perseverance, moral fortitude, along with intricate interplay of crystal clear language and most abstract and hermetic metaphors has made this personality one of the prominent figures in the Islamic poetry and worldwide literature. Nasimi’s death stands for many centuries for a symbol of suffering for the humanistic ideals.
Considering that Nasimi’s life and poetry had a significant impact on development of whole set of humanistic values in the region, the commemoration events will contribute to UNESCO's mission on promotion of mutual understanding, tolerance and culture of peace.
300th anniversary of the birth of Molla Panah Vagif, poet (1717-1797) (with the support of Kazakhstan and Turkey) (2017)
Molla Panah Vagif is one of the most outstanding Azerbaijan lyrical poets whose legacy has not just opened a new strand in the development of the national literature, but even organically “implanted” into folk poetry of ashyqs (minstrels), having inspired dozens of dedications and allusions through the generations of folk poets. Vagif, as a founder of the realism genre in Azerbaijani poetry, has written a great number of poems that have had wide circulation among people. His poetry has become a definite step in Azerbaijani literature discovering the new expressiveness. It has had an impact on processes during that period in Safavi (and later on – Qajar) Persian or Ottoman Turkish and other literatures of the region. After nearly three centuries, Vagif’s poetry is still widely appreciated, cited and recited. Vagif through his poetry promoted freedom, love, peace, respect of moral and ethical values, and mutual understanding – the principles that UNESCO stands for and advances.
The proposal highlights Vagif’s merit in bringing the poetry “from the caste of literary connoisseurs to the wider circles of the ordinary people”. The celebration of Vagif’s anniversary will acknowledge this significant cultural move from the past of one given literary tradition, promoting UNESCO’s adherence to the principles of diversity of cultural expressions. Commemoration of Vagif’s legacy will reflect UNESCO's overarching objectives – fostering cultural diversity, intercultural dialogue and a culture of peace, as well as contribute to its strategic activities in protecting, promoting and transmitting heritage.
500th anniversary of the beginning of the Belarusian Printing (1517) (2017)
The celebration of the 500th anniversary of Belarusian Printing will help promoting access to and use of knowledge in the region.
Francis Skaryna is considered to be the first Belarusian printer and Bible scholar. His contribution to the Belarusian literature and, on a broader level, to the beginning of the era of “mass culture” in the region, made possible the rapid dissemination of new ideas among a great number of people.
Because it is relatively widely recognized that after 1517 the printing spread rapidly to other European cities, the Communication and Information Sector considers that this subregional event fully corresponds to the Memory of the World Programme objectives and contributes to the efforts of promoting universal access documentary cultural heritage, universal access to information and knowledge and its preservation. More specifically, the event fully contributes to the UNESCO's objectives by preserving the cultural heritage and ensuring accessibility of information through the use of digitization. Hence, by supporting the celebration of this anniversary, the Organization will contribute to its objectives of increasing awareness of the importance of heritage and will emphases on its need for care and protection, with the purpose of preserving the collective memory.
150th anniversary of the birth of Käthe Kollwitz, painter, printmaker and sculptor (1867-1945) (with the support of Belgium and Poland) (2017)
Käthe Kollwitz (July 8, 1867, Königsberg, Germany – April 22, 1945, Moritzburg, Saxony, Germany) is regarded as one of the most important female sculptors and printmakers of the 20th century. She was an eloquent advocate for victims of social injustice, war, and inhumanity. Her work offered an often searing account of the human condition, and the tragedy of war, in the first half of the 20thcentury. Her empathy for the less fortunate, expressed most famously through the graphic means of etchings, lithographs, woodcuts, and drawings, embraced the victims of poverty, hunger, and war. Initially her work was grounded in Naturalism, and later took on Expressionistic qualities.
Käthe Kollwitz was one of the great practitioners of German Naturalism and Expressionism and is often considered to be the foremost artist of social protest in the 20th century. The broad spectrum of her artistic work embraces both crucial aspects of life suffering per se, poverty and death, hunger and war. Käthe Kollwitz’s most famous image is probably the 1924 drawing that she entitled “Never Again War.” This drawing became an icon of the global movement for peace and freedom.
400th anniversary of the birth of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo, painter (1617-1682) (with the support of Colombia, El Salvador, France, Honduras, Portugal and Uruguay) (2017)
Bartolomé Esteban Murillo is one of the most important painters of the Spanish Baroque period. He belonged to the Seville school, like Francisco de Zurbarán and Diego de Velázquez, from whom he derived some influence. His work is dedicated mainly to religious themes, but he also painted genre scenes and portraits. During his development, he moved from initial naturalism to tenebrism and chiaroscuro, reaching the Baroque at his peak, anticipating rococo with the flowing brushstrokes of his late works. The two key elements of painting by Murillo are light and colour, highlighting transparencies and backlighting (a painter of the sky, according to Théophile Gautier).
Murillo had a great many disciples and followers and through them had an important influence on later painting, which lasted until the eighteenth century. He was a highly regarded painter outside Spain too and his works were bought in Germany, Italy and England. In France his paintings were admired by artists of the Romantic period.
200th anniversary of the death of Madame de Staël, novelist and essayist (1766-1817) (with the support of Germany and Switzerland) (2017)
The work of Madame de Staël enhanced intercultural dialogue between the peoples of Europe, while denouncing the authoritarianism of the Napoleonic Empire.
Born in 1766, Germaine de Staël was the daughter of Jacques Necker, a Protestant merchant who became the Finance Minister of Louis XV. Admitted as a young child to her mother’s literary salon, she grew up amidst the great minds of the time: Diderot, d’Alembert, Buffon, Grimm, Mably, Raynal and Bernardin de Saint-Pierre. In 1786, she married Baron Erik Magnus Staël von Holstein, Swedish Ambassador to France, and held her own salon, attended by La Fayette, Condorcet and Talleyrand. She began writing, particularly plays, and in 1788, a friend of her parents printed, without her knowing, 20 copies of her Letters on the works and character of J.J. Rousseau, which brought her renown. During the French Revolution, she received her literary friends at Château Coppet, where her salon became a centre of literary emulation. In 1793, she published Reflections on the Queen’s Trial, defending Queen Marie-Antoinette and the status of women, and in 1795, short stories preceded by an essay on fiction, which Goethe translated. In 1796, Madame de Staël published Influence of the Passions upon the Happiness of Individuals and of Nations, a moral treatise with political and autobiographical overtones, begun in 1792. On Literature Considered in its Relationship to Social Institutions (1800) is a comparative study of literature through different types of society and government. Madame de Staël defended the use of novels and drama for the education of the people and rehabilitated the Middle Ages and above all the Age of Enlightenment (eighteenth century), earning her the hostility of the First Consul, Napoleon Bonaparte. She was thus forced into exile. Her novels Delphine (1802) and Corinne (1807) met with great success. She travelled in Germany, and between 1808 and 1810 wrote about its history, literature and philosophy in a book entitled Germany. Napoleon had the book banned. She travelled in Europe and went to Russia, Sweden and England, inspiring an anti-Napoleonic policy. She wrote a last work, Considerations on the Principal Events of the French Revolution, and died suddenly at 51 years’ old in 1817.
100th anniversary of the birth of Jean Rouch, filmmaker and ethnologist (1917-2004) (with the support of Mali and Niger) (2017)
The films of Jean Rouch have greatly broadened knowledge of Africa and contributed to intercultural dialogue.
Having trained as a civil engineer, he was sent to work on a project in Niger, where he discovered African customs. After the Liberation of France, he followed the courses of Marcel Mauss and Marcel Griaule under whose guidance he defended a thesis. As a researcher at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), he established, with Henri Langlois, Claude Lévi-Strauss and André Leroi-Gourhan, the Ethnographic Film Committee at the Musée de l’Homme in Paris. He made nearly 120 films, including: Moi, un Noir (Me, a Black - awarded the Louis Delluc Prize in 1958), Chroniques d’un été (Chronical of a Summer – made with Edgar Morin and awarded the Critics Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 1961), La Chasse au lion à l’arc (The Lion Hunters – 1965) and Cocorico Monsieur Poulet (Cocka-doodle-doo Mr Chicken – 1974). He produced numerous short films about rituals in Niger and Mali (particularly on the Sigui ceremony of the Dogon). He was the President of the Cinémathèque Française from 1986 to 1991. In 1993, he was awarded the International Peace Prize of the World Peace Council. He died in a car accident in Niger in 2004.
200th anniversary of the birth of Nikoloz Baratashvili, poet (1817-1845) (with the support of Azerbaijan) (2017)
Prince Nikoloz Baratashvili was born in Tiflis (Tbilisi), Georgia’s capital. Baratashvili died of malaria in Ganja, unmourned and unpublished, at the age of 27. Baratashvili’s influence was long delayed, but as the next generation of Georgian literati rediscovered his lyrics, he was posthumously published, between 1861 and 1876, and idolized. Baratashvili’s re-interment from Ganja to Tbilisi in 1893 turned into a national celebration. Since 1938, his remains have lain in the Mtatsminda Pantheon in Tbilisi.
Nikoloz Baratashvili was one of the first Georgians to introduce “Europeanism” into Georgian literature.
Baratashvili’s poetry became well-known abroad first of all after B. Pasternak’s translations of his works together with Georgian famous poet Tizian Tabidze. These translations recognized as one of the best works in Pasternak’s poetry.
Nikoloz Baratashvili’s poems are deeply connected with William Wordsworth’s, Alfonse de Lamartine’s, Samuel Coleridge’s and Leopard’s Poetry, so that according to European Literary critics Baratashvili’s name is linked with denying of Asian (Persian) influence on Georgian Poetry and formation of Europeanism in Georgian literature.
Despite his early death and a tiny literary heritage of fewer than 40 short lyrics, one extended poem, and a few private letters, Baratashvili is considered to be the high point of Georgian Romanticism.
400th anniversary of the death of Faust Vrančić, polymath, linguist, inventor, bishop (1551-1617) (with the support of Hungary, Montenegro and Slovakia) (2017)
Faust Vrančić was a remarkable person who lived during the Renaissance. His masterpiece, Machinae novae, features technical drawings of some ingenious inventions of Leonardo Da Vinci. While he himself was not the author of the inventions, his work contributed to the execution of the devices. While he would not normally be considered a scientist, even by the standards of the time, his work could be compared today to that of an industrial designer or engineer. His ideas targeted practical solutions in the construction of buildings and objects, which appears to be the case in his well-known drawing of a suspension bridge and the parachute in the drawing Homo Volans. His most relevant work was his five languages dictionary, which happened to be the world's first Croatian Dictionary.