Art case 2 Assignment


As history changes, so do the culture and various expressions through art. Art has been used to a platform to convey emotions in the era of baroque. The baroque period resulted in arts such as Bernini’s Ecstasy of St. Theresa and Caravaggio’s crucifixion of St. Peter. Much of the paintings produced during the era of baroque was a representation of a specific culture in religion and other fields (Bussagli & Reiche, 2009). The culture obtained from the re-establishment of the Catholic Church and their perceptions based on politics and art. The baroque period was about faith and commitment to the dynamics between religion and artworks.

The ecstasy of St Theresa

The Ecstasy of St. Teresa is an episode of an encounter with an angel, as recorded in St. Theresa’s spiritual autobiography. The sculpture is a theatrical performance that attracts the attention of the audience and plays on with their emotions. In the art, a beautiful and young angel slowly opens Theresa’s dress, about to pierce her using an arrow, whereas Theresa gets back her head as a show of ecstasy (Totally History, 2012). With her eyes closed, St Theresa gets carried away with the feeling of divine love. The bronze rays coming from the unseen source displays the divine light from God. In the art, although they are formed on a heavy marble, the two are set upon a cloud, which makes them appear to float.


The crucifixion of St. Peter

On the other hand, the crucifixion of St. Peter is an episode about the crucifixion. Crucifixion of St. Peter is set on a dark background to show the horrifying end of St Peter. In the portrait, the men responsible for undertaking the task of lifting-up the cross. The three men appear to be struggling to perform the task assigned as they work to lift the cross carrying the weight of St Peter (Nielsen, 2017). In addition, the position of the cross brings information that is drama-based in content, especially in nail piercing of St Peter’s feet. St Peter opted for an upside-down position because he did not want to be crucified as Christ was. Peter is displayed in a natural manner as a person in grief and suffering from the body.  

Description: The Crucifixion of Saint Peter, 1601 by Caravaggio


Baroque art was established in Europe in 1600, where it took shape in the era of reformation. During this period, most people believed that the Catholic Church was corrupt, resulting in the emergence of the protestant movement. For instance, the Catholic Church insisted that one has to go through a saint and Church to preach the salvation of Christ (Bussagli & Reiche, 2009). However, Protestants believed that one had direct access to salvation and God. The artwork of Baroque was based on naturalism and realism, which is borrowed from the Renaissance (Anwar, 2017). In the era of the Renaissance, the human form was displayed with complete perfection and real beauty.

However, Baroque pierce was different, as images of the angel and St. Theresa were not real. In terms of theatrical, Baroque pierce was inspired to influence an individual’s mind and convince using emotive responses. In Baroque pierce, there exists a dramatic contrast between light and darkness. In this art, light is displayed using a thick ray whose source is not known.  Chiaroscuro is usually used to promote the theatricality of any artwork during the Baroque era (Bussagli & Reiche, 2009). The term Baroque was obtained from a Portuguese Barraco, meaning Pearl of unequal size. The baroque pierce is not different from Germany’s artworks and was viewed as key art and separated from the one from the renaissance’s era. The baroque was previously linked with post-reformation through art unity. 

Bernini was born in 1598 and played a significant role in the creation of art during the period of Baroque. Bernini was at the front in the counter-reformation agenda using his theatrical art to promote Catholic Church Ideology. Bernini’s artwork, “Ecstasy of Saint Theresa,” was a large work to send the message about the saint of the counter-reformation (Totally History, 2012). On the other hand, Caravaggio was born in 1571 in Italy. He shifted to Rome and operated as a deputy to Giuseppe. Caravaggio’s artwork was realistic and dramatic. He promoted chiaroscuro and is remembered for introducing the use of dramatic illumination.

The role of the church

The church played a critical role in the influence of the Baroque modeling of art. The Catholic Church sponsored the Baroque’s art style incorporated by the design of arts of Catholic officials sent to different parts of the globe. Although the baroque’s style is strongly linked with the leadership of the church, it was also important to most Protestants. Most of the Churches had a lot of images and jewelers, which had a specific role. For example, Bernini’s artwork, “Ecstasy of Saint Theresa,” was common in most Catholic Church to display their faith and values (Totally History, 2012). The art shows an interaction between a saint and an angel.

The two Artist’s different faith and commitments

In examining the two artists, they display different faith and commitment to the church. To begin with, Bernini was deeply religious and an activist for work. As shown in his work “Ecstasy of St. Theresa”, viewers can see the dynamism in the movement and intensity of the sculpture, creating art used to make the audience feel part in the space of time (Totally History, 2012). The art is full of light, which enables the audience to experience a peaceful and dramatic art that persuades the audience in the religion on faith.  

On the other hand, Caravaggio was not straight with the aspect of religion. He has a very devastating background displayed in his pierce of art. In the art “Crucifixion of St. Peter,”, the viewers can see a contrast of darkness and dim light (Nielsen, 2017). The emotional intensity and dramatic appeal displayed by the contrast in the use of lighting convey religion more dramatically by mixing a positive and negative emotion to faith. In the pierce, religion was portrayed negatively through a horrifying event of the death of St. Peter.


The baroque was an era of reformation and commitment to the church. Both Bernini’s pierce “Ecstasy of St. Theresa,” and Caravaggio’s pierce “Crucifixion of St. Peter” reflects the reformation in the era of baroque and the religious perception of the period. The artworks used to convey a message to people about Catholic Church ideology.  For instance, the Ecstasy of St. Theresa was used to showing the interaction between a human being and an angel. The art can also show the role of the church in one’s communication with a supernatural being.  Contrary to the era of a renaissance, baroque was marked with dramatic and unreal portraits.


Anwar, M. (2017). Unit-3 A Painting And Sculpture Of The West: Renaissance And After.


Bussagli, M., & Reiche, M. (2009). Baroque & Rococo. Sterling Publishing Company, Inc..

Nielsen, S. K. (2017). The Iconic (Re) Turn: Caravaggio’s” The Crucifixion of St. Peter” between Image, Relic, and Martyrdom in Early Modern Italy (Master’s thesis).

Totally History. (2012). The ecstasy of Saint Theresa. Retrieved from Totally History:

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