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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Gothic rock bands and art Vo.5 (the March Violets)

Teresa d'Avila was a 16th century Carmelite nun and a mystic who was canonised as a saint in 1622 by pope Gregory XV. She was famous for her mystic and meditation practices
through her books and  also for the reformation she brought to the Carmelite nuns order.

Of her many portraits here's one by french painter Francois Gerard. 

Santa Teresa as she became known, had ecstatic visions in which she felt what she referred to as "devotions of ecstasy" a state that she claimed brought her in direct unison with God. Around 1559 she had a strong vision of a seraphim visiting her. 
Here's the description in her own words:  
" I saw in his hand a long spear of gold, and at the point there seemed to be a little fire. He appeared to me to be thrusting it at times into my heart, and to pierce my very entrails; when he drew it out, he seemed to draw them out also, and to leave me all on fire with a great love of God. The pain was so great, that it made me moan; and yet so surpassing was the sweetness of this excessive pain, that I could not wish to be rid of it..."

Around 1650, the great Baroque architect and sculptor, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, made a monumental sculpture of the aforementioned episode in Santa Maria della Vittoria church in Rome. It was entitled: "The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa".

The piece was openly criticized from the very beginning since the overall body posture and facial expression of the saint, has strong allusions to sexual intercourse. Rivers of ink have since flown over the debate of Bernini's true intentions.

About 25 years later Bernini repeated the same posture and allusions on another sculpture, titled "Beata (blessed) Ludovica Albertoni" even more amplified !
The statue is in the Chapel of San Fransisco a Ripa also in Rome. Once more religious ecstasy resembles too much sexual climax.
And a detail of this very sculpture was used buy the March Violets to illustrate the cover of the , now highly collectible, 1983 single "Grooving in Green" on Merciful Release...

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