A mural signed by 'TV Boy' and depicting Pope Francis and US President Donald Trump kissing, is seen on a wall in downtown Rome, Italy May 11, 2017. Reuters
A life-size mural depicting Pope Francis with a saintly halo kissing US President Donald Trump sprouting devil's horns appeared on a wall near the Vatican on Thursday, less than two weeks before they are due to meet.
The mural, which was painted on paper and pasted on to the wall during the night, was the latest work by street artists depicting the pope to appear in Rome in recent months.
This one shows Francis, wearing a simple crucifix around his neck, embracing Trump, who wears a gold watch and sports a pistol in a holster. The pope's halo is the same bright yellow colour as Trump's hair. The two are locked in a mouth-to-mouth kiss.
The caption written on the sash of the pope's cassock reads "The Good Forgives the Evil." It is signed "TVBoy," who is believed to be Italian street artist Salvatore Benintende.
"It is very provocative but not too shocking for someone coming from America," said a tourist from Burbank, California who gave only his first name, Victor.
A man poses next to a mural signed by 'TV Boy' and depicting Pope Francis and US President Donald Trump kissing, on a wall in downtown Rome, Italy May 11, 2017. Reuters A man poses next to a mural signed by 'TV Boy' and depicting Pope Francis and US President Donald Trump kissing, on a wall in downtown Rome, Italy May 11, 2017. Reuters The mural was pasted on a wall on a street named "Way of the Bank of Holy Spirit" across the Tiber River from the Vatican.
Francis and Trump are due to meet at the Vatican on May 24 while the president is on a tour Saudi Arabia, Israel, Italy and Belgium.
Such murals depicting the pope eventually are taken down by a special group of Rome sanitation workers known as "The Decorum Squad".
In the past, the squad has erased a mural depicting the pope as a sneaky graffiti artist painting peace signs on walls and another showing him as the comic book hero Superman.
Local media have criticised the unit for removing popular art while unsightly graffiti blights many buildings and heaps of garbage pile up on sidewalks because of a collection backlog.
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