MOSCOW-From a musclebound Superman to ice hockey player to jet pilot, Vladimir Putin plays various heroic roles in paintings at a Moscow exhibition called “Superputin” that opened this week as he began his campaign for a fourth Kremlin term. Displayed at an arts centre in a former factory in central Moscow, the paintings by various artists range from factual to fanciful, showing Putin cuddling a puppy, brandishing a Russian flag while riding a bear or firing missiles in the colours of the Russian flag.

“Each painting depicts a quality or a value of the president,” said 22-year-old pro-Putin activist Yulia Dyuzheva, one of the exhibition’s organisers. The exhibition of 30 paintings and sculptures opened on Wednesday and will be on display until January 15 at the venue “Museum of Ultra-Modern Art” founded by a former mayor of the city of Arkhangelsk, Alexander Donskoi, who also runs a Moscow museum of erotic art called “G-Spot.”

“Each artist depicted positive attributes of Vladimir Putin. Every artist loves him and respects him and supports him,” Dyuzheva said.

Several works at the exhibition show the strongman, who announced this week he will stand in March 2018 polls, in the role of superhero.

“He is first and foremost a super president and a super leader,’ said Dyuzheva, giving a long list of his attributes.

Putin is “frank, into sports, loves music, and protects animals,” she said.

He is “loyal and respectful towards everyone” and “has only allies and friends,” she added.

In fact the “superpresident” has only one fault - he has no “Superwoman,” she said, giggling. Putin, divorced since 2013, has kept his private life under wraps.

After its Moscow run, the exhibition is due to be shown in Berlin and London, organisers said.

It opened Wednesday as Putin made the long-anticipated announcement that he will stand in March polls that are expected to extend his rule to 2024, which would make him the country’s longest-ruling leader since Stalin.