(2) To Express Religious Visions
Unlike the first motivation defined above, this does not represent what is physically concrete within the world, but what is spiritually within the soul.

ADD IN THIS BOX, BUT BELOW THE CURRENT IMAGE A PICTURE THAT IS REPEATED IN THE LATER MODULE ENTITLED “BAROQUE AND ROCOCO”. It is the second image in that module and is entitled “bernini’s St. Teresa”

 

ALSO CAN THE IMAGE BELOW BE STRAIGHTENED OUT?

 

Hildegard of Bingen was born in Germany in 1098. By the age of five, she began having visions. Years later after ascending to the rank of abbess, she painted illustrations of those earlier visions which inspired her to follow a religious path. Such paintings depict what cannot be seen and therefore display exaggerated colors and mystical elements that do not mirror scientific facts in the concrete world.

 

A second example is Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s The Ecstasy of St. Teresa, (1645-52). St. Teresa lived in a convent in Avila, Spain, in the mid 1500’s. One night as she was going to sleep in her dark cell, a bright light appeared in the room. As she groggily opened her eyes, she saw an angel holding an arrow. The tip of the arrow seemed a glowing red as if hot. Paralyzed in fear, Teresa lay motionless upon her bed, but she described the sensation of the arrow within her body as being so sweet and warm. The angel removed the arrow, and Teresa felt the cold of the room and a sense of despair. The angel approached again and pierced her flesh with the arrow, removed it, then for a third time, then removed it after which he departed.

 

When morning broke, Teresa wrote down her revelation and sent a copy to the pope. While in the narrative spiritual warmth and penetration are equated with erotic union (especially with the male penetrating the female with a flaming “arrow”), the sculptor’s motivation was to illustrate a mystical inner experience of spiritual rapture.