Art knows how to swim

We hadn’t been in Florence long before we found this image, posted on  the side of a building, on a gas box door.

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Then we found another.

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Then two more.

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Each one is an iconic symbol of Italian art – Florentine art in particular – and each one is equipped with a diving mask.

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We realised something was up when we saw that every one was signed ‘Blub’, with a slogan ‘L’arte sa nuotare’ – Art knows how to swim.

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We needed to get back to England before we could find out more, courtesy of Google of course.

‘Blub’ is, apparently, more than one person. S/he is not available for interview, but will make the occasional statement.  Blub says that they’ll never deface buildings, only paste their images on gas box doors.  They aim to help beautify and improve the streetscape of Florence.

And why is each of the subjects shown under water?  Well, because for Blub, water is a symbol of obstacles in life, of the challenges we all face.  But art swims on and survives regardless.

‘L’Arte sa nuotare’ is a movement that’s spreading, apparently.  Last spotted in Barcelona.  Time for us to plan another visit to see Emily, then?

Meanwhile, here are the answers to a quiz you might have set yourself .

What are the originals of the pieces illustrated above?

1.  Raphael: detail from ‘Sistine Madonna’

2 . Botticelli: detail from ‘The Birth of Venus’

3 & 4.  Piero della Francesca: Diptych of Battista Sforza and Federico da Montefeltro

5. Botticelli: Dante Alighieri

6. Michelangelo: David

10 thoughts on “Art knows how to swim”

  1. This is wonderful! What a fascinating statement these artists are making, while calling attention to art outside the museum walls. Nice to see new art in the land of really old (and wonderful) art!

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  2. never count out clever folks… it’s easy to overlook how important the arts are to our lives. Especially, when you are taking in such a lovely city – Florence. I am only an hour’s drive or train ride away from a lovely art museum. Thanks for the reminder.

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  3. I like these – if only my drawing skills were better I’d start posting here. I’m trying to think of some subjects from British art but for some reason I’m visualising scuba masks on Stubbs’ horses. Must try harder!

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