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|| The Main Staircase of the Winter Palace was restored
after the 1837 fire by Vasily Stasov, who in the main retained Rastrelli's
concept. Two broad flights of marble steps lead up to a landing embellished
with grey granite columns. The 18th-century ceiling painting by Gasparo
Diziani depicting Mount Olympus visually enlarges the interior that
is transfused with light, gleaming gold and mirrors. The staircase
is adorned with statues, some of which were brought from Italy in
Peter the Great's reign. In the 18th century it was known as the Ambassadors'
Staircase, later the Jordan Staircase, since the imperial family used
it to descend to the Neva at Epiphany for the ceremony of the Blessing
of Waters (in which the river symbolized the Jordan).