- Request Information
Rome is full exquisite Baroque masterpieces. A good private guide will be able to introduce you to the special hidden ones, and bring their stories to life. My favorite is The Ecstasy of St. Teresa by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. In her autobiography, Saint Teresa describes her life changing vision of an angel with a fire tipped arrow. He repeatedly stabs her in the heart, and she experiences both pain so great that she moans in agony, and joy so sweet that she wishes it would never end. Afterward she will find joy only in closeness to God. Bernini depicts this moment in the Cornaro Chapel of Santa Maria della Vittoria in Rome. The face of the Saint expresses joy so extreme that Bernini’s great work was criticized by some in his day for being too sensual and suggesting, shall we say, a less holy form of joy. The artist has a way with marble, of course, but the way he captures light in this piece sets it apart.
The chapel itself is worth noting, designed as a theater, with members of the family observing the masterpiece. Notice the lacey cuffs on their sleeves carved from marble. Take a moment to see the surroundings before centering in on Teresa herself. Each time I stand spellbound. A hidden alabaster window casts natural light on bronze rays behind the marble figures. The angel adoringly gazes at the Saint, his arrow raised gracefully in his right hand. As her motionless body rests on a cloud, the illuminated face of Saint Teresa conveys her passion for God, born in that instant.
The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa is beauty and feeling, motion and stillness, power and surrender all in one work. It is to me the most awe inspiring sculpture in all the world. Contact us for a guided tour in Rome.
Blog by Lindsay Sinko Passion for Italy Travel, USA