When Life Imitates Art in Bologna – Oscar Wilde Would Go Wild

Sometimes you just have to be in the right place at the right time…with a camera.  Such a place and time happened in Bologna, Italy.  I’m sure many will recall an old saying that goes something like “art imitates life.”  Or perhaps you remember the reverse, as in Oscar Wilde’s The Decay of Lying in which “life imitates art.”  Or to put is as he did:

“But you don’t mean to say that you seriously believe that Life imitates Art, that Life in fact is the mirror, and Art the reality?”

So life imitates art. Or art imitates life. Or perhaps both.  But let’s take it a step further.  What happens when art actually mocks life mercilessly?  Take a look at this:

Life imitating art

First, see that the jogger positions himself – unwittingly, no doubt – exactly as the artwork on the wall depicts.  Ah, you say, perhaps the artist observed many joggers over the years stopping to stretch right at that spot. Perhaps.

But then look closer.

The artist apparently had a wry sense of humor.  Not only does the artwork imitate the jogger, it pokes fun of him in a bizarre burlesque.  Little does the pausing runner notice that the permanently paused mirror, though manfully bearded, is wearing high heels, a thong, and flowers in his athletic hair.  Who could believe it? After all…rouge on his cheeks while jogging? Unheard of.

Seconds after I snapped this photo the jogger toddled off oblivious to the suppressed laughter that so desperately wanted to escape my lungs. I had seen this scene unfolding as I watched the jogger approach from afar.  Providence itself couldn’t have delivered a more perfect ending when he stopped to stretch against the light pole.

Sometimes it just pays to be lucky.

David J. Kent has been a scientist for thirty-five years, is an avid science traveler, and an independent Abraham Lincoln historian. He is the author of Tesla: The Wizard of Electricity (now in its 5th printing) and two e-books: Nikola Tesla: Renewable Energy Ahead of Its Time and Abraham Lincoln and Nikola Tesla: Connected by Fate. His book on Thomas Edison is due in Barnes and Noble stores in spring 2016.

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