Adriano Fida, The Ecstasy of St Teresa, 2019

St Teresa (1515-82) of Ávila, Spain is known for her divine inspirations that began after she was sick at age 18 for an entire year and nearly died (judging from her medical records, neurologists and historians believe she had temporal lobe epilepsy). She claimed to have experienced religious ecstasy when a seraph repeatedly drove a golden lance into heart. She wrote that it left her…” 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…”

St Teresa also claimed to have levitated at times. Here the artist paints her in a half-levitating yoga pose, with her hand resting on her personal diary, where she wrote down many of her divine inspirations. Fida writes that the smoke she blows out of her mouth and hand is likewise divine, like the ecstasy of the holy spirit flowing out of her body.

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