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The Ecstasy of St. Theresa

By Darrell Roberts

St theresa

Bernini’s “The Ecstasy of St. Theresa” relies on a superior fusion of drama, theatrics, mysticism, and naturalist elements to create a quintessential Baroque work.  Bernini employs artistic freedom in his rendition of St. Theresa’s religious conversion.   The scene is centered on a symmetrical structure as evident by the classical Romanized columns.

Natural light and bronze rays join to “shine” focus on the main characters: The Angel and St. Theresa.  Both characters and their features appear realistic and natural as evident from such highlights as Angel’s curly hair to the look of ecstasy on Theresa’s face.  The relationship between these characters is distinct, but their shared experience is ambiguous.  Perched on a cloud, the Angel stands above Theresa with his sword aimed to pierce into her body.  Instead of fear or pain, a look of ecstasy and pleasure emanates from Theresa’s face.

In the meanwhile, four onlookers serve to add to the scene’s mystery.  The first onlooker radiates toward the scene as if witnessing a moment of grandeur.  The middle two spectators converse amongst themselves as if they are discussing their mutual confusion.  Finally, the last onlooker turns away from the scene as if it were a great scandal.

Art is timeless.

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1 thought on “The Ecstasy of St. Theresa

  1. I think it is beautiful. It seems to me that it’s a very raw, beautiful version of what art really is. As we had mentioned earlier, Michaelangelo and the chapel. Another superb example of raw and beautiful art.

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