Pope on a bicycle mural wows Romans

Three months after 'superman' depiction removed

Pope on a bicycle mural wows Romans

Rome, April 15 - A mural of a smiling Pope Francis riding a bike with his robes billowing out behind him has wowed visitors to the Vatican three months after another street artist's Pope-as-Superman depiction was removed after causing a media stir. The pope riding a yellow bike, with three white doves keeping him company, appeared in the Borgo Pio just outside the Vatican - not far from the headline-grabbing Superman one. So far no one has come forward to claim authorship. The mural depicting Pope Francis as Superman was erased on January 30, two days after it appeared on a wall near Vatican City. The briefly famous work showed Francis as the white-caped crusader of Marvel Comics in mid-flight, rosary swinging around his neck and glass firmly perched on his nose as he swings his favourite battered black briefcase. Rome's municipal street-cleaning company AMA said it had removed the mural to preserve "decorum", in the same way graffiti are treated. Street artist Mauro Pallotta is rumoured to be talking to the owners of a larger building, to paint a much bigger version of his tribute to the reform-minded pontiff's imagined super powers close to the site of the short-lived one. The mural was such a hit that Vatican communications staff posted about it on their official Twitter account. It appeared on the same day that Rolling Stone magazine made Francis its latest front-page hipster. Last month Francis said he should not be depicted as a super hero, but as an ordinary person. In an interview published by Italian daily Corriere della Sera March 3 ahead of the first anniversary of his election as pontiff March 13, the pontiff said: "Depicting the pope as a sort of superman, a sort of star, seems offensive to me". He said "the pope is a man who laughs, cries, sleeps well and has friends like everyone else. A normal person".

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