WHERE IS IT: At the end of a row of tenements on High Street, just south of Cathedral Precinct
The mesmerising street art on the gable end of the curving tenement block depicts Saint Mungo, Glasgow's patron saint, in the modern era, with a pair of robins. It is just along from Glasgow Cathedral, where Saint Mungo was laid to rest.
Glasgow based street artist Sam Bates a.k.a. Smug has been practising his craft for over fifteen years, having developed a photo-realistic style that he has freely exhibited up and down the country.
He rarely names his street art, so the name comes from social media. This piece was finished in 2016. Two years later, Smug completed another piece at the opposite end of the tenement block, known as St Enoch and Child. Again, it features a robin settled on St Enoch's hand, as she cradles the infant St Mungo, the bird serving as a visual motif.
The robin is important here because it references the Glasgow coat of arms and the four symbols.
There’s the tree that never grew,
There’s the bird that never flew,
There’s the fish that never swam,
There’s the bell that never rang.
"There's the Bird that never flew" references a story from Saint Mungo's young about a wild robin that St Serf tamed. The robin was accidentally killed by some of his disciples who then blamed it on Saint Mungo. He took the dead bird in his hands and prayed, restoring it to life, whereupon it flew to its master.
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