Saint Teresa by Bernini
The sculpture recounts one of her divine experiences; of how an angel pierced her heart with a flaming golden arrow. The statue shows the moment as the angel has pulled the arrow out from her. In her own words Saint Teresa says: “The pain was so great that I screamed aloud; but a the same time I felt such infinite sweetness that I wished the pain to last forever. It was not physical but psychic pain, although it affected the body as well to some degree. It was the sweetest caressing of the soul by God.”
The figure of the angel comes directly from the saints' account. She describes him as young and beautiful. St. Teresa herself is reclined on a floating cloud, her mouth parted. Both are on a floating cloud as they appear to rise toward heaven. The saints garments are chiseled in such a way as to appear all rippled and disheveled - an outward sign of her turbulent spirit within. The angel’s garments are done in such a way that they make him look like he is wrapped in flames.