alludes to the connection mystics had made between ecstasy and death.29 The placement of her transverberation over the altar links in marble and gold sacramental liturgy and saints and their cults.
What distinguishes this particular sculpture, however, is its setting: this is no free-standing grouping of two, but an event represented within a larger context. To the left and right of the sculpture are prie-dieus, which look very much like theatre boxes (Fig. 7). In each are four male figures in curial dress. Not all look at the saint; indeed one reads. Her 'visibility', in other words is not something physical, but a more complex seeing. The import of those corporeal manifestations of the presence of the Holy Spirit is not transparent - nor is embodiment to be transparently read.
Catholic art also represented core precepts of Catholic doctrine, such as purgatory,30 transubstantiation, and the unique honour due the Virgin Mother.31 These images articulated in the visual terms of colour, line, mass, and texture
29 'In other words, Teresa was a martyr, not in the physical sense of dying for her faith, but in the spiritual sense of dying of her faith', Lavin, Bernini and the unity of the visual arts, p. 114.
30 Gottler, Die Kunst des Fegefeuers nach der Reformation.
31 For surveys ofCounter-Reformationiconography, see Male, L'artreligieux; andKnipping, The iconography of the Counter-Reformation.
Was this article helpful?