Saturday, 28 October 2006

Saint Theresa's Ecstasy

Bernini - The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa (detail)I hope UK viewers managed to catch Friday's tribute to Bernini's magnificent The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa in Prof. Simon Scharma's Power of Art series on BBC2. The Prof. may suffer from an upper-crust-twit delivery and an unfortunate tendency toward verbal rococo (the compulsion to find the most ornate yet punchy line, regardless of precision), but he spins a good yarn. And all credit to the cameraman's close-ups of hands pressing into flesh which captured Bernini's brilliance in bringing marble to life. The levitating nun's ecstasy is far more erotic than the brothel fresco below. Yet this is a religious work! Intriguingly, Bernini rejected the nun's fantasy of an angel's spear in favour of Cupid's arrow.


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