the ecstasy of saint teresa
i came across a picture of this sculpture in one of my art history classes and was awe-struck by it's impact on me.
done by gianlorenzo bernini in 1652, located in santa maria della vittoria, rome, italy.
i'm usually not particularly interested in baroque art, though i think it is beautiful and skillfully done in a way i will never understand....it never really speaks to me.
here's the story:
saint teresa was a nun of the carmelite order and one of the great mystical saints of the spanish counter-reformation. her conversion occurred after the death of her father, when she fell into a series of trances, saw visions, and heard voices.
feeling a persistent pain, she attributed it to the fire-tipped arrow of divine love that an angel had thrust repeatedly into her heart.
in her writings, st.teresa described this experience as making her swoon in delightful anguish.
the technical aspects and visual differentiations of this sculpture are unbelievable.
among the clouds, rough monk's cloth, gauzy material, smooth flesh, and feathery wings -- all carved from the same white marble.
bernini depicted the saint in ecstasy, unmistakably a mingling of spiritual and physical passion, swooning back on a cloud, while the smiling angel aims his arrow.