Stallone shows off artistic side

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Visitors look at a painting "The Arena" by Sylvester Stallone during the art exhibition "Sylvester Stallone Painting From 1975 Until Today" at the Russian Museum in Saint Petersburg.

SAINT PETERSBURG - Art lovers lined up at the world&39;s biggest museum of Russian art in Saint Petersburg, where US film star Sylvester Stallone unveiled a retrospective of his abstract paintings.

Work by the Hollywood action man won praise from the curators at the State Russian Museum although some critics denounced Stallone for his anti-Russia character "Rambo" and said such art had no place in the venerable institution.

Stallone was all smiles as he unveiled the exhibition, entitled matter-of-factly "Sylvester Stallone. Art. 1975-2013", and said it was an honour to show his works in Russia&39;s historic capital.

"I hope you will like my pictures," he said at a press conference. "I love all of you."

The 67-year-old star of blockbusters such as "Rambo" and "Rocky" said that if he had a choice, he would spend his life drawing and sculpting instead of starring in action hits.

"If my visit is a challenge for somebody, let it be so," he said when asked what he thought of some furious comments, notably by some in the Communist party, who thought that exhibiting Stallone at the Russian Museum was a travesty.

Museum director Vladimir Gusev said Stallone&39;s paintings "show the character of a passionate man" and were not simply "the work of an amateur".