Inspiration for the Ecstasy of Knowing

Ecstasy of Saint Teresa by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, 1647-1652

On Friday, Keith Lemely gave an inspiring artist lecture about his site-specific installation for Redux, The Ecstasy of Knowing. It was fascinating to hear him talk about his artistic process as he went into depth on how he turned his conceptual ideas into a thought-provoking installation, as well as an informative description on how one works with neon. One of the most interesting points of his lecture was when he discussed from where he drew inspiration for this piece. One of his sources included the Baroque masterpiece, The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa by Gian Lorenzo Bernini

Detail, Ecstasy of Saint Teresa by Gian Lorenzo Bernini; White marble, stucco, gold

Created between the years 1647-1652, this sculpture depicts Saint Teresa of Avila’s experience of religious ecstasy. Bernini depicted this divine encounter with an angel by illuminating his white marble sculpture with filtered, natural light from a hidden window in the dome that shines onto gilded stucco rays. These rays highlight the sculpture with a similar effect to modern day neon. It centrally sits in the Cornaro Chapel, in the Santa Maria della Vittoria in Rome, Italy.

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