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SYLVESTER STALLONE. Painting. From 1975 Until Today

  • Sylvester Stallone at the Galerie Gmurzynska Booth at Art Basel Miami Beach. 2009 (Photo by Joe Schildhorn /
  • Finding Rocky. 1975. Mixed media and artist’s frame. Private collection
  • Hercules O’Clock. 1991. Mixed media and artist’s frame. Private collection
  • Untitled (Michael Jackson). 2010. Mixed media and artist’s frame. Galerie Gmurzynska
  • City Scape. 2013. Mixed media and artist’s frame. Galerie Gmurzynska
  • Shadow Dance No. 2. 2013. Mixed media and artist’s frame. Galerie Gmurzynska
  • Mutate Man. 1990. Mixed media and artist’s frame. Galerie Gmurzynska
  • Death of a Friend. 1977. Mixed media and artist’s frame. Private collection
28 October 2013 - 12 January 2014
St. Michael's (Engineers') Castle
Continuation of the exposition - in the Marble Palace

In his youth, before his ascension to the cinematic Mount Olympus, Sylvester Stallone had intended to become an artist. After taking a course in Switzerland, over the course of nearly fifty years, he has seriously worked at his art, in parallel with his work in film.

The thing one most needs in order to interpret Stallone's work is to understand that they arise out of an inner necessity that stems from when the amount of accumulated knowledge, sensations and feelings demand to be materialized and transitioned to a new reality. Painting, according to Stallone, is the fastest and most exact way to process and translate your subconscious.

The images and characters found in Stallone's paintings, in a way, replicate events in his creative and personal biography. But they are not portraits in the traditional understanding of the word.  Frantic form and color are used in the large-scale transfigurations that breathe new life and energy into the people who surround the artist, or the celebrated actor who is the idol of millions. In his works, the subject matter reveals itself through, among other things, the title, words, letters and symbols painted directly on the surface of the canvas. The constructive subordination of separate elements to the whole is often determined by a preference given to one color or another: white, red, black. Stallone's paintings can seem beautiful or savage, skillfully done or not, but they do not leave viewers indifferent, as within them lives the mystery of experience. They express the power of human despair, suffering and hope, which is given a "voice" in painted form and comprises the positive side of the work of Stallone as an artist.

It is no accident that several of Stallone's works have been placed in the Ludwig Museum in the Russian Museum. Sylvester Stallone is an artist who both knows and highly regards the artistic output of his contemporaries, especially Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol. Works by both of these artists, among others, were donated to the Russian Museum by Peter Ludwig.