Gian Lorenzo Bernini
Giant Lorenz Bernie “Ecstasy of Saint Teresa” I chose Ecstasy of Saint Teresa by Bernie because it is an impressive multi-media installation that helps me understand the intense experience of Saint Thresher’s visions. Four black marble columns frame the scene of Saint Theresa floating as if on a cloud as a playful angel is about to plunge an arrow repeatedly into her. Her face portrays a feeling of intense pain and pleasure as she accepts the glory and light of her lord. Heavenly light is shining down on them. Through the use of natural light shining down from an unseen mystical source.
Brass reflective rods are lined up in a row opening up towards the couple further signifying the beauty and grace of the light. From both sides of the main characters a viewer then notices a seated audience relief carved out of marble. The audience seems to be captivated by the untraditional portrayal of god like visions. The marble is so beautifully carved to render flesh and the texture of clothing. Ecstasy of Saint Teresa is equally frightening and stunning; reflecting the religion it represents. This piece is a perfect example of Baroque sculpture. A common characteristic of
Baroque art is including the audience into the work. Ecstasy of Saint Teresa does this by way of the theater windows. The relief of witnesses within these windows gives the sense that all of this is happening on a stage, and the audience is thus placed in orchestral seats in front of the stage. This includes the viewers into the work and justifies the drama portrayed theatrically in front of us. The scene portrayed here is an intense one. Seeing the look on Saint Teeter’s face shows fear, pain, and pleasure. This is Juxtaposed with the look of calm playfulness on the angels face as he threatens her with the arrow.
Natural light bathes both the figures in a holy light that implies a sense of realism to the existence of God. The emotional impression the piece implies is very characteristic of Baroque art. One can imagine the pious traveling great distances to be brought down on their knees by Bering’s instillation. Bernie was a master in working with marble. The articulate depiction of different weights of cloth is impressive. Saint Teresa is dressed in a heavy textile that weighs her down in the earthly sense. The angel is lifted into the heavens by his silky clothing that moves easily in the breeze.
He shows off more of his craftsmanship by way of the balcony windows. There is an illusion of continued space beyond what we can see. Bernie also includes a stylized classical pediment. This pediment is cleverly utilized to hide a window that lets in the natural light that is focused on the centerpiece. Ecstasy of Saint Teresa was created using Marble, gilded brass, natural light, and architectural elements to create a whole composition. This makes Bering’s epic depiction the first multimedia installation that predates the popularization of the art form by 3 centuries.