Thursday, July 14, 2011

Santa Maria della Vittoria: Rome

Santa Maria della Vittoria is probably mostly visited for its "orgasm statue" -- the Ecstacy of St. Teresa by Bernini in the Cornaro Chapel. It's funny that this baroque masterpiece is in a church. Bernini, unlike Michelangelo or Donatello who both made beautiful statues of men, obviously had personal interest/experience in women to portray such an honest expression.

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  (notice that the angel's arrow is not exactly pointing to her 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. The soul is satisfied now with nothing less than God. The pain is not bodily, but spiritual; though the body has its share in it. It is a caressing of love so sweet which now takes place between the soul and God, that I pray God of His goodness to make him experience it who may think that I am lying. --Chapter XXIX; Part 17, Teresa's Autobiography

This is a MUST SEE -- Bernini = Genius!