Ecstasy of Saint Teresa


One of the famous sculpture made by Bernini was Ecstasy of Saint Teresa, it was made on 1647–1652 use white marble as the media and now being placed in Rome’s Santa Maria della Vittoria. This sculpture well known especially because of its beauty, dramatic and have solid religious theme in it; the artist his self is Gian Lorenzo Bernini the last prodigy in Baroque artwork.

“Bernini is the last of the dazzling universal geniuses. He is a prodigy, his first works date from his eighth birthday”1

Like another Baroque artwork it has the same style, such as the most obvious character is the dramatic scene, Bernini captures the moment when the angel faces Saint Teresa and try to kill her with golden arrow which aim to Saint Teresa’s centre body. Seeing the expression in Saint Teresa face is definitely show us what she feel, the great pain that she endure show by her open mount and her plaintive body movement despite that, she close her eyes tell us that she ready and willingly accept her fated. Moreover, the angel gives calm and beautiful emotion with his smile. Even thought, he will put the end of human life Saint Teresa, who was religious person in Christian. The angel do not show unnecessary emotion, he still look elegant, high and proudly. The golden light gives stronger image in the luxury of this moment.

Furthermore, the clouds that hanging around the angel and Saint Teresa seem so light and able to float which is made by white marble that should be weight enough but the foldaway cloth and the cloud perfectly look so fine and the way it should be. By the appearing of the cloud it make people who see it determine that the angel go down from the heaven to meet the Saint Teresa but they do not meet in earth more than the angle take up St Teresa to the sky.


Somehow people may feel see the religious theatre; it is not completely wrong since Bernini set it that way. Ecstasy of Saint Teresa is place in the centre of the altar with the audience who is sculpting in the wall watch them carefully like in the theatre. The people in the wall are not commonly people in that time, some of them are cardinal, and Federico Cornaro. Then the sculpture of St Teresa and the angel look like being look out in beautiful prison that outsider can see them well.

Not like some other Bernini’s artwork which is taken from religious bible book this sculpture Ecstasy of Saint Teresa is made based on the story that the Saint Teresa said, she said that angel came to meet her with human boy body who step golden spear in to her for several times. Actually she only gets spiritual pain but until some of point it affect to physical body as well. In other hand the reason she fell happy because she able to fell God’s love.

“The pain was so severe that it made me utter several moans. The sweetness caused by this intense pain is so extreme that one cannot possibly wish it to cease, nor is one’s soul then content with anything but God.” (The Life of Saint Teresa of Ávila by herself, Chapter 29).2


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