YOU HAVE TO LAUGH – public art in Bratislava

There's some lovely interaction going on between these two groups of visitors, but note the Napoleonic Soldier photobombing.

There’s some lovely interaction going on between these two groups of visitors, but note the Napoleonic Soldier photobombing.



City fathers, yes, city mothers too, have options when it comes to installing or authorising public art. Heroic statues of kings, emperors, politicians and generals have long been standard fare.

Bratislava has its fair share of national heroes gracing the streets. But it has also more recently installed public art with obvious appeal to locals and visitors alike, your correspondent included.

Cumil, the watcher, emerges from a manhole...

Cumil, the watcher, emerges from a manhole…

...and attracts a lot of fans.

…and attracts a lot of fans.

Not exactly public art, but it seems to be compulsory for Slovakian souvenir shops to place these people on a bench by the door.

Not exactly public art, but it seems to be compulsory for Slovakian souvenir shops to place these people on a bench by the door.

Hans Christian Andersen once visited Bratislava (it was them known as Poszony) for a few days. When asked if he’d write anything about it, he is said to have replied, ‘If you want a fairytale, your town is a fairytale.’ Writers know how to suck up when there’s a chance of a free drink.

They rewarded him with a sculpture in the main avenue...and a good one too.

They rewarded him with a sculpture in the main avenue…and a good one too.

I'm pleased to see any sort of bike rack anywhere, and this is a particularly good one.

I’m pleased to see any sort of bike rack anywhere, and this is a particularly appealing one. If I had a bike in Bratislava, I’d park it here.

A colourful and popular Bratislava identity was known as ‘Schone Naci’, for his slightly sleazy habit of sidling up to attractive young women and politely muttering ‘Schone, schone!’ I believe it means ‘beautiful, beautiful!’ He passed away in the 1960s, but is now commemorated outside his favourite cafe.

Schone Naci, always impeccably dressed.

Schone Naci, always impeccably dressed.

These sculptures may not be outstanding art, but who cares? More cities could do worse than to commission cartoonists to come up with imaginative, entertaining, intriguing pieces to grace their public spaces.

And here’s that Napoleonic soldier again…with friends.

His name is Hubert, by the way.

His name is Hubert, by the way.

5 Comments

Filed under Art

5 responses to “YOU HAVE TO LAUGH – public art in Bratislava

  1. Tim

    I love these – in particular the way they encourage people to not only enjoy but interact with them. Looks like a fun place to be.

  2. Indeed there should be more art like this, Tim. Anything that gets people involved wins my vote.

  3. Yep, I totally agree – I love the fact that you can – and are allowed to – interact with these.

  4. I loved Bratislava. Pity about all the graffiti, or have they covered it over?

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