Street Art in a Renaissance City
Alexa, Florence, Fall 2017
January 16, 2018

Florence is known for all of its’ churches, museums, and all of the amazing Renaissance art. When we think of Florence, we think of Michelangelo’s David in the Galleria dell’Accademia. We think of Botticelli’s Primavera and The Birth of Venus inside of the Uffizi Gallery. Every tourist goes to see the Brunelleschi’s Duomo and Ghiberti’s Baptistry Door. Florence is filled with paintings, sculptures, and architecture of some of the most famous names in the game, however, Florence has so much more to offer to the artworld.

My favorite photo I took while in Florence

When I moved to Florence, I was so excited to visit all of the museums and churches I had learned about in my art history courses. After walking around the city I realized there is so much more to Florence than what I learned from my history books. The subtle street art on the sides of buildings, street signs, and all over the city brought a smile to my face. Some reference other artworks existing in the museums of Florence. Even the actual streets are covered by art by the chalk drawings done every day by different artists.

Blub’s recreation of Johannes Vermeer’s painting, The Girl with the Pearl Earring.

Some of the more well-known street art around Florence is by Clet, Blub, and Exit/Enter. Anyone who has gone to Florence has most likely seen the work of these three artists while roaming this Renaissance city. Clet is a French artist who now resides in Florence and has a studio in San Niccolo. His work is the interesting and comic stickers placed on the Florentine street signs. I saw these signs everywhere while walking around the city bringing a smile to my face on a daily basis. My roommates and I found the studio while walking up to Piazzale Michelangelo. I bought some of my favorite stickers so I could experience the joy they brought me as I walked around Florence even after I left.

Blub’s recreation of Piero della Francesca’s painting of the Duke and Duchess of Urbino

Blub is probably my favorite street artist of Florence. His art, centered around the theme “Art can Swim,” depicts famous artworks and figures wearing diving masks while underwater. His recreations are done in blue, white, and black. For me, his work is amazing because I am an Art History major meaning I can recognize the works he has recreated. I love the new twist he puts on famous artworks and the simplicity of his recreations of much more elaborate works. My favorite is probably his version of Piero della Francesca’s diptych of the Duke and Duchess of Urbino. I’ve spotted some of Botticelli’s Birth of Venus, Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam in Sistine Chapel, Johannes Vermeer’s Girl with the Pearl Earring, and even a portrait of Clet with on of his street sign stickers.

Street sign sticker by Clet of the David. This is my favorite sticker by him, and I bought one for my hydro flask.

There are so many more great street artist in Florence and seeing all of their work everyday made me so happy. I don’t live in a place where there is street art, so having it around the corner from my apartment made my day everyday. I think it adds so much more beauty to the already beautiful city of Florence.

Alexa was a fall 2017 SAI Florence student from Saint Mary’s College of California.

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About SAI

SAI is dedicated to providing academic and cultural learning experiences abroad that enhance global awareness, professional development and social responsibility. We concentrate our programs in Europe, with a focus on in-depth learning of individual European countries and their unique global role in the geopolitical economy, humanities, and in the arts.