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Art Professor Discusses 7 Principles of Leonardo da Vinci

Art professor Albert Smathers
Art professor Albert Smathers

Art lovers consider Leonardo da Vinci’s masterful “Mona Lisa” to be the among the world’s greatest paintings. Depicting Jesus Christ in the center of the scene, “The Last Supper” is another one of his masterpieces.

Born in a Tuscan hamlet in 1452, da Vinci sketched prolifically, worked on inventions, explored the human anatomy, drew landscapes and crafted magnificent paintings. His influence on life and art during the Renaissance was profound. The Italian artist died at age 67 in 1519.

Mississippi College art professor Albert Smathers will bring da Vinci’s genius to life in a special lecture on the Clinton campus on October 15.

Smathers will present the Christian university’s Arts and Sciences distinguished professor lecture for 2019. The Fall event begins 7 p.m. that Tuesday at the Jean Pittman Williams Recital Hall. The program is free and open to the public.

The MC educator will focus on author Michael Gelb’s book titled “How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci.” The author’s work examines the gifted artist’s thinking method revolving around seven principles. Gelb explains the valuable lessons people can receive from these principles. The knowledge will help them become more successful in life, he believes.

A professional artist for nearly four decades, Smathers has served as a painting instructor at Mississippi College the past 15 years. The works of the Hinds County resident have appeared in collections across the United States. Other art works were acquired by collectors in Europe and Asia.

His lecture will examine how Smathers utilizes the da Vinci principles in his own work on the Clinton campus. In addition, the professor will share with his audience how he trains art students in painting principles and techniques.

“Whole Brain Thinking and Spirit” is the title of his lecture.

Principles of Leonardo da Vinci include an insatiable curiosity for life. Another is the testing of knowledge through experience. A third principle is a willingness to embrace ambiguity.

As a professional artist, Smathers is primarily known for composing large romantic landscape paintings. He’s also completed work on 27 murals for both public and private entities. Crafted a few years ago, one of his eye-catching murals sits on the exterior wall of a business in Clinton.

In 2014, art patrons at the Woo Couture gallery in Jackson were treated to a meandering journey of Smathers’ landscapes stretching from Haiti to Boothbay, Maine.

After receiving his Mississippi College degree, Smathers began painting scenes of the Lower Mississippi Valley. His artistic travels took him in 1979 to spots ranging from Greenville, Mississippi to Grand Isle, Louisiana. He did a series of paintings that brought the Mississippian to California’s Big Sur Country in 1984.