what are some words historians use on the ecstasy of st teresa
Cornaro had chosen the hitherto unremarkable church of the Discalced Carmelites for his burial chapel. [a] The selected site for the chapel was the left transept that had previously held an image of ‘St. Paul in Ecstasy’, which was replaced by Bernini’s dramatization of a religious experience undergone and related by the first Discalced Carmelite saint, who had been canonised not long before, in 1622.  It was completed in 1652 for the then princely sum of 12,000 scudi. [b]
The art historian Rudolf Wittkower wrote:
Cardinal Federico Cornaro
The traditional interpretation of Bernini’s Ecstasy of Saint Teresa is relatively straightforward. The sculpture portrays the Saint’s overpowering sense of spiritual pleasure in serving Christ. Bernini employs imagery which suggests sensual pleasure, but only in order to convey the tangible nature of Teresa’s experience – a manifestation of her love of God and her yearning for spiritual union with him. The work is consistent with the aims of the Catholic Counter-Reformation art campaign, which sought to convey the mysteries of Catholicism as cogently as possible.
Located above the altar of the Cornaro Chapel in Rome’s Santa Maria della Vittoria, Bernini’s The Ecstasy of St. Teresa represents an episode from the life of the saint as recorded in her spiritual autobiography. Teresa describes an angel carrying a fire-tipped spear with which he pierces her heart repeatedly, an act that sends her into a state of spiritual rapture. “The pain,” she writes, “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)
“The instance of a single image that appears time and time again in multiple artists’ work is also something that fascinates me. For example, the saint in ecstasy. Bernini, who was greatly admired by many of the Spanish artists who went to Italy and saw his works, is perhaps the quintessential example of a seventeenth-century Baroque creator of ecstasies in art. And the most outstanding of his creations of ecstasy is, I think, the sculptural group that is created to observe the ecstasy of Saint Teresa. Saint Teresa had reverberations all across Europe in the later half of the seventeenth century.”
…and the source of the “divine” light, as seen from outside the church on Largo Santa Susanna.
The divine and unearthly scene within the niche is so strong that the very columns that frame it are pushed outwards, into the space of the chapel. It is as if the classical orders and the marble decoration simply cannot contain the force of her vision. This was the kind of manipulation of classical architectural rules which critics had in mind when they coined the term Baroque. Like many artistic terms it was first used as a term of abuse, deriving from the Portuguese barocco meaning a deformed pearl.
Rome is famous for the Colosseum, for the Roman Forum, for hosting within its perimeter the small but powerful state of Vatican City with the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel. Rome is a city renowned world-wide for the splendid monuments of the City Center such as, to just name a few, Piazza Navona or the Pantheon: ancient monuments make Rome one of the most rich-in-history and admired cities in the world; but Rome has also been the capital of and art movement that has shocked rules of artistic expression that had been established and followed for centuries—the Baroque—and has produced artists of the caliber of Borromini, Bernini and Caravaggio. Baroque artists loved massive and detailed decorations, curved lines, flowery curls and stucco. Their works often contain an idea of movement and motion that was directed to confuse and surprise—actually, astonish!—the viewers; Bernini’s statues, for example, literally seem to come to life and can be looked at from multiple perspective points. The facades of Borromini’ buildings stretch and bend in a way that make them seem to be on the verge of coming to life. Caravaggio’s original use of light is still studied today by photographers and movie directors for the dramatic effects that it is able to produce.
One of Bernini’s most impressive works is the Statue of Saint Teresa of Avila that can be found in the Cornaro Chapel inside the famous Church of Santa Maria della Vittoria—in English, Our Lady of Victory—located not far from the Termini station in Rome and Piazza della Repubblica, a site easily reachable during any of your tour of Rome. Our Lady of Victory was built in the beginning of the seventeenth century by Carlo Maderno a baroque architect who in the same years also completed the facade of St Peter’s Basilica! Years later, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, who had been as well working at the Basilica of St Peter (building the colonnade of the piazza and the famous baldachin) started a project to build a campanile, a very tall bell tower that had to be demolished even before being finished, because of its excessive weight. After this humiliation, Bernini’s brilliant career took an unexpected turn and he fell in disgrace. In the mid-1640’s, Gian Lorenzo Bernini was going through a tough time. After a few years of living in reclusive misery, he was commissioned by Cardinal Federico Cornaro to do a sculpture for the cardinal’s family chapel. He wanted was a statue of Saint Teresa, a Spanish mystic canonized just 20 or so years before. Bernini jumped at the opportunity, seeing it as a last shot at resurrecting his career.