Sharks to Spring - A picture tells a thousand words.

This old saying is so apt, probably even more so in a digital world when an image can be included at the flip of a finger. At CCETv we use this “Sharks” image when we want to make the point about the dangers of climate change. We would love to credit the creator, but we cannot find them. Even after our own extensive research and the long efforts of an expert who helped us to find the origins. She found that many saw and used the image but no one knew of its origins. So, we are asking anyone who views this image to join the detecting brigade, as we want to give credit to the imaginative creator.

The “Sharks” image wonderfully illustrates the world’s present predicament: the swimmer of mankind is frantically trying to evade the dangers of the biggest pandemic for over 100 years but ready to snap that one up is the potential Economic Crisis; lurking underneath are the massive jaws of Climate Change to end it all. Fortunately, our scientists seem to have solved the Covid 19 problem with several vaccinations. The second shark can be avoided by putting money into the sustainability economy especially into the “green-collar work force” (thank you Rt Hon Alok Sharma MP for reusing Al Gore’s phrase), which could then prevent the biggest jaws of all unless we take action.

A thousand words are not enough for some pictures because as Wikipedia says "one of the most written about, and most controversial paintings in the world" is Sandro Botticelli’s Primavera. This huge painting is wonderful. Can I add to the summations about it. I was supposed to direct a 12 one-hour drama series, which unfortunately never got made for many complex reasons.

I was working with the writer - Michael Starkey - who through a massive amount of research found that the painting was in fact commissioned by the Florence municipality, which was controlled by the Medici banking family who virtually invented modern banking. In reality it was a massive ad for the bank; Renaissance sponsorship! To create the work they employed the local jobbing artist – Botticelli - to prepare this “billboard”.

Image by Sandro Botticelli -, Public Domain

The plan for the painting, and an important scene in the series, was it being paraded around Piazza della Signoria (Florence’s main square) showing the great wonders, intellect, beauty, power even plants and flowers the bank had brought to the city, all set in an orange grove that was the Medici Bank “logo”. Once the “ad splash” was over the picture went into one of the family member’s country home. A bit like a friend of mine who has an original Anthony Gross picture commissioned by Lyons Corner Houses because she is one of the founding family’s daughters.

Botticelli was a great supporter of Savonarola, the priest who created the “Bonfire of the Vanities”, where many of the painter’s works were burnt. Savonarola’s mobs drove out the Medici from Florence, so it was fortunate that the Primavera sponsored work was safely in a Medici country house. Botticelli faded from painting history until the Pre-Raphaelites re-discovered him in the 1850s, which gave his remaining works importance, including his “sponsorship advertising work” now hanging in the museum that leads from the square where it was originally displayed as an ad saying, “We the Medici Bank have brought these advancements to you”. Some sponsorship just grows in value for ever.

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