L’arte Sa Nuotare, (Art Knows How To Swim), Florence

Look For These Quirky Images As You Wander Through Florence.

I am 2.5 weeks into my one month stay here in Florence and the one item that I always look out for (besides truffle pasta) are these quirky images that are plastered around the city. I first noticed one when I was walking near the Arno River and turned down a random street in search of gelato. Instead of finding a Gelateria, I found an interesting image of a man with a mask on. I thought it was a one-off until they kept popping up around Florence. I can’t walk more than a few blocks without one of the subject matters gazing my way. And it’s not their eyes that grab my attention but the snorkel mask that dons each face.

I’ve wondered what these images represent and who the artist is. They are just so damn quirky there must be a meaning behind them. Today I popped into an art shop to pick up a pen and asked the shop assistant if he knew the significance. (There is an image on their block so it reminded me to ask). He said it’s a series called L’arte Sa Nuotare (Swimming Art) and it’s by a mysterious artist known only as Blub. He uses iconic figures, both past and present (Jesus, Girl With The Pearl Earring, Pope Francis) as the vessel for which the scuba masks are placed. Why? I am not sure and neither did the shop assistant. But like all art, we can interpret it as we please. Maybe they are/were all part of a scuba club?

When you are in Florence, be on the hunt for these images and see how many you can capture. It can be a Where’s Waldo (scuba mask) game. Loser buys gelato!


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