Musei Vaticani XIV, Scala Simonetti

2011, Printed Later
Archival lambda color photograph

Signed, titled, dated and from edition of 5 on artist’s label on verso.

Available in 3 sizes: 100 x 120 cm. (39.4 x 47.2 in.), 120 x 150 cm. (47.2 x 59.1 in.), 180 x 225 cm. (70.9 x 88.6 in.)

Massimo Listri’s “Musei Vaticani XIV, Scala Simonetti” captures the majestic and symmetrical beauty of the Simonetti Staircase in the Vatican Museums. Unlike the typical depiction of this iconic staircase, Listri’s photograph is taken straight on, focusing on the grandeur and architectural precision of the staircase’s entrance and ascent.

The Simonetti Staircase, designed by Giuseppe Momo in 1932, is a testament to architectural ingenuity and serves as a modern interpretation of Donato Bramante’s original double helix design. The staircase’s design allows for an elegant separation of ascending and descending pathways, showcasing the Vatican’s blend of Renaissance inspiration and modern execution.

In Listri’s photograph, the straight-on perspective highlights the staircase’s monumental entrance. The broad, sweeping steps lead the viewer’s eye upward, creating a sense of grandeur and anticipation. The symmetry of the composition emphasizes the balanced and harmonious design, while the intricate ironwork of the balustrades adds a layer of ornate detail.

The walls flanking the staircase are adorned with classical motifs and decorative elements, reflecting the rich artistic tradition of the Vatican. The soft lighting illuminates these details, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere. The gentle play of light and shadow enhances the textures and architectural lines, bringing the scene to life.

This perspective allows viewers to appreciate the staircase not just as a functional structure but as a work of art in itself. The photograph captures the essence of the Vatican Museums’ architectural splendor, offering a fresh and compelling view of the Simonetti Staircase.

Through Listri’s lens, the Simonetti Staircase is presented in a way that highlights its monumental scale and the meticulous craftsmanship that went into its design. The photograph invites viewers to marvel at the staircase’s elegant simplicity and the timeless beauty of its architectural elements.