Saturday, 28 April 2012

Giovanni Battista Piazzetta and Saint Teresa in Ecstasy

'Saint Teresa in Ecstasy' (1737) by Giovanni Battista Piazzetta; Nationalmuseum, Stockholm

I'm planning to go to Rome this coming August, for the very first time in my life, and I am so excited with the prospect of being able to see so much art. So I guess it would be nice to do more posts on Italian painters. After already having dismissed various artists for today's post, the final choice was between the Venetian painter Giovanni Battista Piazzetta, born on February 13, 1682 or 1683, and died on April 28, 1754, and the French painter Émile Bernard, who was born on 28 April 1868. Since I couldn't use Bernard anymore for a post on the date of his death (16 April 1941) nor Piazzetta on the date of his birth, it came down to this post. I like Bernard's paintings, which are painted in the post-Impressionist style known as Cloisonnism and bear influences of Paul Gauguin and Vincent van Gogh. You must know by now that I cheat once in a while and don't stick to one painting per post. Click here to see one of Bernard's paintings so I'm not even sticking to one painter today. To come back to Piazzetta, I chose him because of his nationality and because I immediately liked this painting of Saint Teresa. Piazzetta studied under Giuseppe Maria Crespi and although most of his works are of religious subjects, he also took up genre painting influenced by Crespi. Today's painting clearly has a religious subject. Teresa of Ávila was a Spanish mystic who dedicated her life to strict asceticism and spiritual contemplation. Her love of God and the desire to be spiritually united with him found expression in a vision in which an angel pierced her heart with a spear and put her into a trance. The most famous artistic expression of this mystical event is Bernini's life-size marble sculpture but there are many artists who were inspired by this event. For further reading on Saint Teresa, click here and here.

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