"Capax Infiniti" stands several stories tall and graces the side of a building in the the downtown corridor, where she inevitably draws "oohs" and "aahs" from passersby.

Art In the City

City murals enhance the urban landscape

Some of the most beautiful decorative art installations aren't found in residences, galleries or museums. They're found on the city streets, where they enhance the urban landscape and typically become a source of community pride.

Murals are among the most impressive art pieces in cityscapes. Found on storefronts, sides of bridges, commercial warehouses and many other urban spaces, city murals have become so plentiful over the last few decades that some cities have become known for them. London, Madrid, Mexico City, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Portland and, of course, New York are among the standouts. 

Wherever they are placed, murals tend to create a reaction. Playful murals bring a smile; political murals, a call to action; landscape murals, a sense of peace and relaxation.

Many of the most famous city murals in recent years have been purely decorative. An example is "Capax Infinit" in Portland, Ore. Painted by renowned South African artist Faith47, the mural stands several stories high and features an ethereal woman in a flowing dress, whose back is turned on her audience. Gorgeously rendered, the mural has become associated with the downtown corridor and is a constant source of "oohs" and "aahs" from passersby.

Aesthetics aside, murals also can serve a functional purpose. Many murals are commissioned in urban settings to mask architectural flaws in old buildings, utility pipes and wires, signs of structural aging and other eyesores.

Murals also are a known deterrent to tagging and vandalism. In fact, many cities across North America have mural programs in place to deter graffiti from their downtown cores. To see current examples of murals that have sprung from some of these programs, click here.

What follows are some notable murals to whet your creative appetite. Additional examples are available at earthporn.com, which features an article entitled, "20 of the Best Cities to See Street Art." 

This delightful mural features a French bookstore, complete with a menu of highlighted authors.


Earthporn.com in "20 of the Best Cities to See Street Art" features this eye-popping Berlin mural, which creatively incorporates utilities.


Look carefully: There's more to this mural in Philadelphia than meets the eye.


Wheat gatherers balance on pillars in this artistically rendered city mural. 


A high-flying act plummets from great heights in San Francisco.


Another mural from the earthporn.com article, this one from Buenos Aires.


This Belgium mural brightens up a street corner.