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Ecstasy of Saint Teresa Archives - St. Stephen's University

Overrated

By | 2010, Europe | No Comments

One of my main goals for this trip was to really appreciate art. Anyone can look at a painting and see that it is a pretty picture, but I want to be moved by art. We’re now off to Venice and leaving the Italian Renaissance, the most recognizable transforming moment in art history, behind. We recently visited the Vatican Museum in Rome where I saw Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, a piece whose fame is topped, in my mind, only by his David, and by the Mona Lisa. To me this was an example of a pretty picture.  I walked into the chapel and, like everyone else, immediately looked up. I recognized the greatness of the work but felt little beyond that. A few superficial factors may have caused this, such as the dim lighting, the noise, and the amount of people, or that I came in at the front of the chapel instead of the back, but whatever it was, I was not really moved by this piece. Contrasting this was my visit, later that day, to Bernini’s The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa, a Baroque statue in a chapel dedicated to Bernini. I don’t know how to express in words what I felt looking at it, but I was moved by this statue. Now I just need to figure out what, in a piece of art, causes this reaction in order to have a greater appreciation for art over the rest of the trip.

Dan Thiessen

more than I thought

By | 2010, Europe | No Comments

I am writing this blog quite a bit late, though I feel that I can still freshly recall the information we learned in our intensive, prior to our take off to Barcelona.  I can remember my initial anticipation to travel overseas, particularly excited to see such grand sites as Sagrada Familia, Dresden, and the Eiffel Tower.  Looking back on my anticipations, I now notice that they were almost completely architectural pieces with historical significance, but now that I am on the trip I noticed that I am beginning to appreciate the artistic nature of the sites I have visited.  The architecture of the sites still amazes me but I find the art within some of these sites as impressive if not more than the building which holds them.  For example, I visited the Ecstasy of Saint Teresa, which made me think of John Donne and his poetry, and how beautiful they both were yet slightly controversial yet the building that held this piece was nothing but a small and almost humble chapel in Rome.  I guess what I am trying to say is that I am finding a new appreciation for art as well as connecting many pieces I see to other significant historical works.  From this experience I have learned that instead of anticipating a certain piece or site I should enter each new place with an open mind, or as Peter Fitch and Soren Kierkegaard would say, “ a teleological suspension of disbelief.”