Firenze Street Art is a pleasure to behold – maintaining a tradition which many of its citizens claim has made it the premier European city for art & culture stretching back to the Renaissance.
Cathie Bloor visited the city recently and was drawn again to its centuries-old art treasures – recalling so much of what she’d learnt from her high school art teacher – but also encountering a post-modern twist.
Some of the street art is posted for ‘the liberation of poetry’.
Montenegro & lime
I breathe hendecasyllable
I’m fed by night craziness and lagoons
In front of these cobalt colour fragments I remain unarmed
suspended into the unreal, slave of unreasonable
(black scrawl translation)
To you/born/where the sun always shines …
Other striking pieces are by now recognisable street artists. Clet is French by birth but has a studio in the Oltrarno, Florence and his work appears around the streets of Florence and other major cities . It is exciting to discover his work when walking along the street. He says his work ‘is an invitation to reclaim public space, to make it into a space where we can once again create a social debate’.
Clet also creates sculptures in public spaces. This is to the Mayor of Florence.
Blub is an anonymous street artist of Firenze. He revisits immediately recognisable icons of the art world. He employs similar characteristics: diving mask; bubbles; and a blue background. He says: ‘They have a mask to see beyond, they can breathe when they are underwater’. Again, Blub’s images delight the viewer in unexpected ways; the delight of recognition and the delight of the ‘old’ transformed.
Exteriors and Interiors
The following Blub works were seen, not in the street but on the walls of a beautiful, probably conservative, resort. It seems to me that the Fiorentini treasure and protect their past traditions and artistic glories but are also willing to embrace the new and the innovative.
My visit to Casa Guidi was also a delight. Away from the pressure of crowds and tourists this had been home to Elizabeth Barrett Browning and her husband Robert. An oasis. I was the only person visiting. Elena who oversees visitors was most hospitable. I was even able to leaf through the books on the shelves. What an enormous pleasure was to be had!
I thank Academy Travel and our tour leader Dr. Nick Gordon for a wonderful exploration of Florence and the Renaissance together with a few steps into both the 19 th century and the contemporary artistic world.
Cooyright: Text and photographs Cathie Bloor