Ecstasy of Saint Teresa
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ebrowne's picture


At first glance this sculpture looks like something that belongs in a brothel rather than a church. But on second glance….no, it still looks like it belongs in a brothel. That’s definitely an “O” face.

The inspiration for this sculpture was a woman by the name of Teresa Sánchez de Cepeda y Ahumada who later became St. Teresa of Avila. She was born in 1515 and was a bit of a troublemaker. When she was 7 years old, she was fascinated by martyrs and convinced her brother that they should go to the Moors for martyrdom and ask them to decapitate them. Luckily, their uncle intercepted their little plan, but Teresa’s antics didn’t stop there. During her teenage years she was fun, flirty and shallow but also had a good healthy dose of Catholic guilt. When it came time for her to get married, she decided that she would rather join a convent in order to avoid being a sinner (and getting an ugly husband).

And sin, she did not. Saint Teresa was known to have visions of Jesus, angels, and the Virgin Mary. Teresa herself describes one of these visions in her autobiography, “... Beside me, on the left hand, appeared an angel in bodily form... He was not tall but short, and very beautiful; and his face was so aflame that he appeared to be one of the highest rank of angels, who seem to be all on fire... In his hands I saw a great golden spear, and at the iron tip there appeared to be a point of fire. This he plunged into my heart  several times ... and left me utterly consumed by the great love of God. The pain 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. This is not a physical, but a spiritual pain, though the body has some share in it-even a considerable share ..." Somehow I think Teresa mistook God’s love for self love based on the eroticism of that “vision,” but what do I know? She was still canonized in the Catholic Church and they hate masturbation. She was made to be the patron saint of headache sufferers...definitely code for the patron saint of orgasms.





  1. "The Ecstasy Of Saint Theresa". Artble. Web. 6 June 2017.
  2. Bernini, Ecstasy Of Saint Teresa. Rome: Smarthistory, 2012. Video.
  3. "St. Teresa Of Avila - Saints & Angels - Catholic Online". Catholic Online. Web. 6 June 2017.

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Here is what Wikipedia says about Ecstasy of Saint Teresa

The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa (alternatively Saint Teresa in Ecstasy or Transverberation of Saint Teresa; in Italian: L'Estasi di Santa Teresa or Santa Teresa in estasi) is the central sculptural group in white marble set in an elevated aedicule in the Cornaro Chapel, Santa Maria della Vittoria, Rome. It was designed and completed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, the leading sculptor of his day, who also designed the setting of the Chapel in marble, stucco and paint. It is generally considered to be one of the sculptural masterpieces of the High Roman Baroque. It depicts Teresa of Ávila.

Check out the full Wikipedia article about Ecstasy of Saint Teresa.

Comments (1)

pogo agogo

This is seriously one of my favorites just because this is in the middle of a church and she's feeling herself up!!! HYSTERICAL!