Dr. habil.art. Ojārs Spārītis, Prof.
President of LAS
Prof. Ojārs Spārītis was born on 28 November 1955 at Priekule, Liepāja district. Prof. Ojārs Spārītis studied philology (1974-1979) at the University of Latvia, and history and theory of art (1981-1987) at the Latvian Academy of Art. In 1997, he was awarded doctor's degree from the Latvian Academy of Art and a year later - earned the title of Dr.habil.art. Prof. Ojārs Spārītis is particularly interested in the Renaissance culture in Latvia and Europe, as well as in various aspects related to art and architecture, sacral culture and protection of cultural heritage. He has supervised restoration of several monuments of sacral culture in Latvia - the churches of Priekule, Straupe, Strutele, Annenieki, Liepupe and Vijciems, St.Peter's Church in Riga and Resurrection Church at the Riga Great Cemetery. O.Spārītis has also participated in the reconstruction of several Latvian manor houses (Kukši Manor, Ķirbiži Manor). In 1997 assumed the post of chief supervisor of the reconstruction works of Riga Blackheads House.
Alongside the academic career, which O.Spārītis began as editor at the Scientific Library of the Latvian Academy of Sciences (1979-1981) and continued at the Latvian Academy of Art as lecturer, he served as Minister of Culture of the Republic of Latvia (1995-1996), and general manager of Riga Blackheads House (1999-2007).
Ojārs Spārītis was elected Professor at the Latvian Academy of Art in 1998. At present he is among the most experienced members of the faculty at the Latvian Academy of Art. He is among the highly esteemed professionals who participate in a number of research projects both in Latvia and abroad, from 2013 and until 2017 he supervises the national research programme Letonika (Letonics).
Prof. Ojārs Spārītis has written more than 20 monographs, and published over 300 articles on issues of history and theory of art and architecture, related to periodisation, typology of Latvian and European cultural ties, Renaissance art iconology and emblem studies; as well as on aspects of preservation of cultural heritage and tourism management. From 1989, participated in more than 70 symposia and conferences in Latvia and abroad, since 2009 Ojārs Spārītis is member of the International Committee at the Leipziger Denkmal Messe.
In 1999, Ojārs Spārītis was elected corresponding member of the Latvian Academy of Sciences and in 2003 became its full member. In 2012, the Autumn General Meeting elected Prof. Ojārs Spārītis president of the Latvian Academy of Sciences, whereas on 7 April, 2016 he was re-elected to the second term and assumed the office on May 2016.
Ojārs Spārītis is member of the European Academy of Sciences and Arts (Salzburg) and foreign member of the Lithuanian Academy of Sciences (2016).
Ojārs Spārītis is representative of the State President at the UNESCO National Committee, Chair of the Committee for public monuments at the Riga Municipality, he also chairs the Board of the Society for Protection of Culture and Environment Monuments, undertakes duties of the vice-president at Dante Alighieri Society in Riga, is member of ICOMOS.
Ojārs Spārītis is the recipient of the Letter of Gratitude from the State President of Latvia (1999), the Swedish Order of the North Star, Commander's Cross (2001), medal of M.C.A. Boeckler-Stiftung "Mare Balticum" (Germany) (2001), the Order of Three Stars, Officer's Cross (Latvia) (2001), the Order Al Merito della Repubblica Italiana, Commander's Cross (Italy) (2004), the Order of Orange-Nassau, Knight's Cross (the Netherlands) (2006), the Order of Leopold II, Officer's Cross (Belgium) (2007), and the Order of the White Rose, Knight's Cross (Finland) (2009). Ojārs Spārītis was awarded the Prize of the Latvian Academy of Sciences and JSC "Grindeks" (2002) and the Riga Prize of the Latvian Academy of Sciences and the Riga Award Foundation (2003).