The ecstasy of St. Theresa
by Gian Lorenzo Bernini
Period of completion: 1647-1652
Medium used: Marble
height: c. 11' 6" (3.5m)
Provenance: Santa Maria della Vittoria, Rome
The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa (alternatively Saint Teresa in Ecstasy or Transverberation of Saint Teresa; in Italian L'Estasi di Santa Teresa or Santa Teresa in estasi) is the central sculptural group in white marble set in an elevated aedicule in the Cornaro Chapel, Santa Maria della Vittoria, Rome. It was designed and completed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, the leading sculptor of his day, who also designed the setting of the Chapel in marble, stucco and paint. It is generally considered to be one of the sculptural masterpieces of the High Roman Baroque. It pictures Teresa of Ávila. According to the articles, the inspiration of Berinini in making the statue was an episode from the autobiography ‘The Life of Teresa of Jesus’, talking about Her experience of religious ecstasy in her encounter with the angel. Caroline Babcock says that, “Bernini's melding of sensual and spiritual pleasure in the "orgiastic" grouping as both intentional and influential on artists and writers of the day”.Irving Lavin said "the transverberation becomes a point of contact between earth and heaven, between matter and spirit.” Bernini was also the one who designed the contrasting darker walls, columns, and environment around his white sculpture. This is the part of the autobiography where St. Theresa describes her experience of ecstasy: “I saw in his hand a long spear of gold, and at the iron's point there seemed to be a little fire. He appeared to me to be thrusting it at times into my heart, and to pierce my very entrails; when he drew it out, he seemed to draw them out also, and to leave me all on fire with a great love of God. The pain was so great, that it made me moan; and yet so surpassing was the sweetness of this excessive pain, that I could not wish to...
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