The Church of Santa Maria della Vittoria in Rome houses Bernini’s magnificent Baroque “Ecstasy of St.Teresa.” Bernini’s barefoot, levitating St. Teresa of Avila was created in 1646 and it occupies the space in the Cornaro Chapel of the church.
This is one of Bernini’s finest works and redeemed his reputation after he built the faulty bell-tower at St. Peter’s Basilica that had to be demolished. Here’s a video about Bernini’s masterpiece: http://youtu.be/BJcCPLByrSY
A levitating Saint Teresa appears to be in a state of spiritual enrapturement. She belonged to the Barefoot Carmelite Order of Nuns and died in Spain in 1582 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0oeb8N4Nsic&feature=related.
She is visited by an angel who is about to thrust a spear into St. Teresa as members of the Cornaro cardinals and family members watch the event from their box seats. St. Teresa is in a state of divine joy.
Saint Teresa vividly describes this scene in her spiritual autobiography. Her autobiography was a best seller in Rome.
“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 be rid of it.”
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