Posts Tagged ‘wall art’

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Receiving a lot of attention lately is this shot, representing the root and vine-like creeping of exposed iron bars in a very urban setting of decay and destruction.

Exposed twisted iron bars

Twisted and exposed iron bars, with remnants of concrete and an out-of-focus concrete block in the background.

I took a look at the views on my Flickr photographs the other day, and saw that this shot was particularly popular:

Cold, cramped space in the roof void of St Peter's Basilica, Vatican City

The main dome of St Peter’s Basilica – an imposing landmark on the skyline of Rome – is actually composed of two domes: one inside the other. The cavity between the Catholic Church’s public image and its inner workings is a cold, shadowy and cramped space.

Although shot and digitally developed in full colour, there is a naturally occurring grey-blue tint amongst the shadows that give an almost monochrome feel to this shot.

The Story Behind the Shot

The Catholic Church is an immensely huge institution, with over 1 billion followers worldwide. At its headquarters in the Vatican City in Rome, Italy, the Basilica at St Peter’s Square forms the focal point for worship, pilgrimage and sightseeing. At the top of this sacred building is an enormous dome, visible across Rome as the centre of Roman Catholicism.

After a long, meandering hour or so up from the sprawling piazza at its base, I climbed through the tight walls at the edge of the dome (‘cupola’ in Italian) to find myself amongst the mosaics and frescoes that make up the fine artistic interior. A quick skirt around the edge of this very high vantage point – overlooking the main altar and entrance to the tomb of St Peter – and I was back inside the dark, twisting interior of the main cupola.

Dark, narrow, twisting staircase inside the bowels of the Vatican

The twisting, dark staircase that winds up through the narrow void towards the top of the main dome at St Peter’s Basilica.

As the dome reached its apex, the passageways became ever more horizontal, diagonal and cramped. Eventually, just before I emerged onto the roof of this Roman landmark, I came upon the sight of the wooden bars at the top of this post. This cold, cramped space fills the void between the inner dome that contains the frescoes and mosaics inside the Church, and the separate outer dome that projects the status of the organisation upon the outside world.

What this shot says to me

The imaginary lines formed by the tops and bottoms of the wooden bars lead the eye naturally through the image and around the curve of the dome, through the blue space before disappearing in an apparent infinity. The infinite coldness, and the prison-like claustrophobia of the bars add to the darkness around the image’s borders to create a sense of the inhospitable workings of the Church – in much contrast to the opulent interior and grand exterior image of the institution. Given recent controversies with the Catholic Church, I am quite intrigued by how the underbelly of the Church’s central headquarters can be a direct representation of the murky world that sometimes pokes through the slick public image. The bright circles of the skylights offer a useful shape that draws the eye in at a glance, as well as offering the only light in the image.

What are your thoughts on the shot? Can you see the leading lines (actually, both shots used in this post make use of this technique)? Would the use of more saturated colours, or even a clearer lean towards monochrome have affected your interpretation of the image? Let me know your thoughts!


Just a quick note to let you know that to celebrate the official launch of Wall Art by KP Burgess, you can use the code 25launch to get a 25% discount off any print or printed product (including canvas, frames and the amazing Quantum mounts) purchased through Valid until the end of September only!

Wall Art by KP Burgess

Purchase any print or printed product from and use the code 25launch to receive a 25% discount on any Wall Art!