Make Way for Sylvester Stallone: Impressionist Artist

Hollywood seems littered with stars that turn their talents to the visual arts while on break from filming. Usually this kind of career transition is met with skepticism (see: James Franco), but what is often discredited is the possibility for a true artistic discovery hidden deep within the movie star persona. The latter has rung true for one of the most unlikely Hollywood discoveries in the art world imaginable–ladies and gentleman, make way for Sylvester Stallone: Avant-garde painter extraordinaire.

Perhaps what’s most surprising is just how good his work really is. The results are on full display at a retrospective exhibition titled Real Love, open now at the Museum of Modern Art in Nice, France. Though this talent may have only recently come to light, Stallone has been painting nearly his entire life, working on canvas and fighting on camera simultaneously. Several of the pieces in the gallery are direct references to his iconic screen personas, meaning one can find an Impressionist interpretation of Rocky Balboa or an abstract-expressionist depiction of Rambo. But the focus of the exhibition will be on the prolific output of Stallone’s recent years, wherein he has created up to 400 different pieces in the past decade alone.

Yet for all of the high artistry, the museum has anticipated the cynical reactions of the public and the mainstream media. The gallery’s director, Mathias Rastorfer, has insisted that the exhibition will not be a ‘Hollywood event,’ instead one that focuses on “showing what is possible in art,” and how Stallone is not simply “one of those ‘Hollywood painters.’”

Though Stallone has had his paintings shown in the past, even at the prestigious Art Basel in Miami, this will be by and large the most accessible his mostly private work has ever been to the public eye. If any of the released images are an indication of his painterly sensibilities, it promises to be far more of a career Renaissance than Rocky 6.

Visit the Nice Museum of Modern Art’s website here

All artwork by Sylvester Stallone. Photographed by Fredrik Nilsen, courtesy of Galerie Gmurzynska

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