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Landmark buildings untouched by time

The Palazzo Reale in Naples, Italy.

By Christina Sanoudou

Neoclassical public buildings, baroque villas, Renaissance libraries and museums where the grandeur of bygone days still reigns supreme – all of them devoid of visitors and seemingly untouched by time – take the lead role in the high-definition images of Massimo Listri.

For a number of years the prominent Italian photographer has been recording landmark buildings around the globe. He has done so via a particularly contemporary visual angle, an emphasis on detail and by taking advantage of today's state-of-the-art technology as a means of rediscovering the aesthetics of the past.

Thanks to his credentials he is able to explore historical places to which the general public has no access, such as the interiors of private Italian palaces. He has also walked the deserted halls of public buildings such as the Louvre in Paris and the impressive Real Gabinete Portugues de Leitura library in Rio de Janeiro beyond opening hours.

A selection of the artist's large-scale photographs are currently on display at the Benaki Museum's Pireos Street annex in Athens. The exhibition, “Massimo Listri: Photographic Architecture,” runs to March 16.

Born in 1953, Listri was attracted to the medium of photography in his teens and started collaborating with art and architecture publications as a student.

In 1981, along with publishers Franco Maria Ricci and Vittorio Sgarbi, he co-founded FMR Magazine and limited edition luxury books – the title derived from Ricci's initials which in French read as “ephemere” (ephemeral).

FMR Magazine, which stood out for its well-written texts and quality images and has been defined as the world's most beautiful publication, became the photographer's creative platform for 20 years.

Benaki Museum, 138 Pireos & Andronikou, tel 210.345.3111. For more information, go to www.benaki.gr.

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