Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Saint Teresa in Ecstasy, 1647-52. Marble, life-size.
Writing, for Teresa, is to connect with the unknown. The search for a providential interlocutor, one which makes her speak that which she cannot explain; the wait for grace. Grace, an answer to questions we have not even asked ourselves. Such is the mystery of Saint Teresa, the reason we continue reading her with delight five hundred years after her birth. She turns religion into poetry.
Read the rest of Gustavo Martín Garzo’s article at El País
C.D.Friedrich, Der Mönch am Meer, 1808
This idea or this affection caused by a word, which nothing but a word could annex to the others, raises a very great degree of the sublime, and this sublime is raised yet higher by what follows, a “universe of death.” Here are again two ideas not presentable but by language, and a union of them great and amazing beyond conception; if they may properly be called ideas which present no distinct image to the mind; but still it will be difficult to conceive how words can move the passions which belong to real objects, without representing these objects clearly. This is difficult to us, because we do not sufficiently distinguish, in our observations upon language, between a clear expression and a strong expression. These are frequently confounded with each other, though they are in reality extremely different. …
The truth is, all verbal description, merely as naked description, though never so exact, conveys so poor and insufficient an idea of the thing described, that it could scarcely have the smallest effect, if the speaker did not call in to his aid those modes of speech that mark a strong and lively feeling in himself. Then, by the contagion of our passions, we catch a fire already kindled in another, which probably might never have been struck out by the object described. Words, by strongly conveying the passions by those means which we have already mentioned, fully compensate for their weakness in other respects.
A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful (1757)