Gian Lorenzo Bernini, one of the leading figures in Roman Baroque architecture, put the finishing touches on his sculpture The Ecstasy of St. Teresa. The sculpture was commissioned by Cardinal Federico Cornaro for his burial chapel, located at Santa Maria della Vittoria, a minor basilica located in Rome.
The Ecstasy of St. Teresa is a sensuous depiction of the Spanish mystic and Carmelite nun St. Teresa of Avila and her painful and euphoric encounter with an angel whose arrow pierced her heart, a phenomenon known as transverberation. Saint Teresa described her experience in graphic detail, saying that the experience left her in excessive pain but “on fire with a great love of God.”
Also in 1652, Gregorio Allegri, composer and singer for the Sistine Chapel, died. Despite the fact that he left behind volumes of vocal concerti, masses, motets, instrumental music, and two settings of the Lamentations of Jeremiah, he is most remembered for his “Miserere,” a setting of Psalm 51 sung annually during the Sistine Chapel’s celebration of Holy Week.
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