Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Santa Maria della Vittoria - The Ecstasy of St Teresa

S Maria a Vittoria

This image of The Ecstacy of St Terresa in the church of S Maria della Vittoria in Rome is part of one of the panoramic images found on the Tour of Rome. There are over 100 images taken from around Rome linked to an interactive map.

Full 360° panorama inside Santa Maria della Vittoria

Santa Maria della Vittoria was originally named after St. Paul. But in 1602 there was a battle at the White Mountain in Prague in which the Carmelite priest accompanying the imperial army carried a picture of the nativity around his neck. The image made it’s way back to Rome, first to Santa Maria Maggiore. From there it was taken by procession to S Paolo, which was unfinished and subsequently dedicated to Mary because of the picture and renamed. Unfortunately, the image had no power over the fire that swept through the church in 1833 in which it was destroyed.

The interior of the S Maria della Vittoria is considered to be one of the finest examples of Baroque decoration in Rome, decorated in sumptuous marble. It is actually fairly small, with three interconnecting side chapels framed by huge corinthian pilasters with gilded capitals.

The Ecstasy of St. Teresa by Bernini main is one of the main attractions. It is situated in the Cornaro Chapel to the left of the altar. The subject is taken from the autobiography of Saint Teresa of Avila where she describes a vivid vision of an angel piercing her heart with a golden shaft, causing her both immense joy and pain. The subject’s posture and flowing robes deviate from classical restraints of the time resulting in a more passionate and emotional statue.

The Ecstasy of St Teresa in S Maria della Vittoria has been popularized by Dan Brown in Angels and Demons and many people come to draw parts of the church, as can be seen from the collection of artist in the full panoramic image shown on the Rome tour by There is an enlargement of this image of the Ecstasy of Theresa on Flickr.

For more articles on Rome see the Rome Index or select one of the labels at the bottom.

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