Bernini’s Masterpiece: The Ecstasy of St. Teresa of Avila in Rome

English: Cardinals of the Venetian Cornaro fam...

English: Cardinals of the Venetian Cornaro family assisting to the ecstasy of St. Theresa, by Bernini. Left transept of Santa Maria della Vittoria (17th century) in Rome. Français : Cardinaux de la famille vénitienne Cornaro assistant à l’extase de sainte Thérèse, par le Bernin. Croisillon gauche de l’église Santa Maria della Vittoria (XVIIe siècle) à Rome. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Wider view, including the Cornaro portraits, b...

Wider view, including the Cornaro portraits, but omitting the lower parts of the chapel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Church of Santa Maria della Vittoria in Rome houses Bernini’s magnificent BaroqueEcstasy 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.

Santa Maria della Vittoria

Santa Maria della Vittoria (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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 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

The Ecstasy of St. Theresa by Gianlorenzo Bern...

The Ecstasy of St. Theresa by Gianlorenzo Bernini (1652). Left transept of Santa Maria della Vittoria (17th century) in Rome. Français : L’extase de sainte Thérèse du Bernin (1652). Croisillon gauche de l’église Santa Maria della Vittoria (XVIIe siècle) à Rome. Español: El éxtasis de Santa Teresa Gianlorenzo Bernini (1652). Transepto occidental de Santa Maria della Vittoria (siglo XVII) Roma. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Teresa of Ávila, Ulm, Germany

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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.

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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.

Rome ItalyWitness Saint Teresa of Avila in Ecstasy

Saint Teresa vividly describes this scene in her spiritual autobiography. Her autobiography was a best seller in Rome.

Ecstasy of St Theresa (detail), 1652, by Gianl...

Ecstasy of St Theresa (detail), 1652, by Gianlorenzo Bernini. Cornaro chapel, Santa Maria Della Vittoria church in Rome. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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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"It is love alone that gives worth to all...

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Filed under: Bernini, Churches in Rome, ebooks, Italy, Rome, St. Teresa of Avila, World Heritage Sites Tagged: Baroque, Bernini, Carmelites, Cornaro Chapel, Ecstasy of Saint Teresa, Ecstasy of Saint Theresa, Gianlorenzo Bernini, italy travel, Italy Travel Guide, Rome, rome history, Rome Travel Guides, Santa Maria della Vittoria, Teresa of Ávila, Travel and Tourism

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