• Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Ecstasy of Saint Teresa, 1647–52.
  • Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi, 1651.

Bernini and Rome

03 June 2014 /

One of Rome’s most distinguishing characteristics to me is its sculptures. More than any other city Rome is covered with sculptures: on buildings, in buildings, in piazzas, covering ceilings, along the street, ancient or contemporary Rome has them—everywhere. And if Rome is primo in sculpture, than Gian Lorenzo Bernini is the crème de la crème. The 17th century sculptor, painter, and playwright is credited with starting the Baroque style of sculpture—giving works emotion, movement, and defying physics. My personal favorite is The Ecstasy of St Theresa in the Santa Maria della Vittoria church; the sculpture depicts Teresa of Avila in a state of physical ecstasy as she is pierced by the angel of god. The sculpture protrudes from the wall giving it the appearance of floating, light catching on flowing folded marble, giving the piece an otherworldly appearance befitting of its subject. This is just one of the many sculptures by Bernini in Rome, and I find myself driven to take Bernini pilgrimages—if you get the chance, you should too.