'Sylvester Stallone' spotted in Vatican painting

Rocky and Rambo star spied by US student whose picture became a viral hit

A visitor to Vatican City was stunned when he found the subject of a Raphael masterpiece had an uncanny resemblance to Sylvester Stallone.

The doppelgänger was spotted by Harvard student Anthony Zonfrell, 20, who was on holiday in Italy with his family.

[Related story: Stallone set to retire Rambo in final film]

He said: "My cousin had told us about how she had seen it when she went, so we were on the lookout.

"As soon as we saw the painting, we knew it was him. My whole family thought it was hilarious. It could actually be a portrait of Stallone."

Spitting image... Rocky with renaissance doppelgänger (Credit: South West News Service)



When Anthony, who is from the US, returned from his holiday he uploaded the photograph to community website Reddit.

It has become a viral hit, having been viewed more than 700,000 times.

Anthony added: "I posted it at night, and when I woke up it was on the front page.

"I was shocked at the response it got, it really blew up quite fast. All of the comments were hilarious."

The Cardinal and Theological Virtues is a 1511 fresco adorning one of the Raphael Rooms at the Vatican.

The full picture... Sly double in the Vatican (Credit: South West News Service)
It depicts Pope Gregory IX approving the Vatical Decretals with a spitting image of Hollywood hardman Sylvester Stallone, 65, looking on.

Raphael was commissioned to decorate four reception rooms in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican City.

They later became known as the ‘Stanze di Raffaello’, which means Raphael Rooms.

The Cardinal and Theological Virtues, which was painted in 1511 and represents a combination of law and religion, makes up one wall in the ‘Stanza della Segnatura’ room.

It is thought Raphael, who lived from 1483 until 1520, only sketched the outline of the fresco, with team member Lorenzo Lotto carrying out the ‘Stallone’ paintwork.

Watch the trailer for Stallone's latest, 'Expendables 2', below.