Street Art in Florence - Gramsci by Jorit

This is the second large mural by Jorit in Florence, after the one dedicated to Nelson Mandela in Piazza Leopoldo (see our blog). Ciro Cerullo, aka Jorit, is now known all over the world, with his realistic style and a strong social commitment. He always represents portraits, the most famous ones being in Naples and dedicated to San Gennaro and Maradona. His characteristic are the long red stripes on the faces of his characters, reminiscent of the ritual decorations of the American Indians or the Maori of New Zealand.

This mural as well was promoted and financed by the Municipality of Florence, the Cassa di Risparmio di Firenze, Unicoop, Publiacqua, Teatro Puccini and Casa Spa, the public company that manages public housing in Florence and province, owner of the building on which the work was carried out.

It represents Antonio Gramsci (1891 - 1937), an important historical figure, founder of the Italian Communist Party in 1921 and its secretary in 1926. The mural occupies an entire external facade of the building and measures 213 square meters. It is inspired by the most famous photograph by Gramsci, taken in 1916, when he was 25 years old.

Jorit's working style is interesting: first he writes on the wall some famous sentences of the personage he will paint, which will then inspire him in the execution. In this case he used two sentences, taken from Lettere dal Carcere, Gramsci’s most famous work: "Even when everything is or seems lost, one must calmly get back to work, starting from the beginning ... The crises consist precisely in the fact that the old dies and the new cannot be born ”.

Some signs that were not included in the Mandela's mural: large drops of water on the jacket, a bee and hive cells, and at the base, written in capital letters the name ANTONIO.

Unlike the mural dedicated to Mandela, this one has caused quite a bit of controversy. Gramsci was a great intellectual, he dealt with and wrote about history, philosophy, theater criticism, literature and even linguistics, but he was very politically aligned with the communism of the 1930s. He hoped for the elimination of the bourgeois state and for the establishment of the dictatorship of the proletariat, according to the Soviet model. He lived for some time in Russia and always supported the Soviet regime and its politics, at the top of which there was Stalin.

This did not please many, who would have preferred a less ideologically characterized and more universally recognized figure. The tenants of the building also complained that they were not consulted. Given that one of Jorit's most famous works in Naples is dedicated to the football player Maradona, many have suggested promoting works dedicated to some great sportsman instead of politicians, also in Florence.
Florence, viale Antonio Canova.

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