"What Has Earth to Do With Heaven?": The Relationship Between Teresa of Avila's Mystical Experience and Description of the Transverberation of Her Heart and the Iconography of Divine Love and Saintly Martyrdom

Goodman, Eleanor Hope, Department of Art, University of Virginia
Goedde, Lawrence, Department of Art, University of Virginia

The purpose of this paper is to demonstrate how Teresa of Avila's,visual descriptions in her Life are not simply evocations of her actual mystical experiences, but accounts colored by her concern with and interest in the visual and her exposure to pictures. In turn, her writings were a source for later pictorial iconography in Counter Reformation Europe. Thus, Teresa's written imagery fits into a long iconographic tradition that in itself influenced her descriptions. Her descriptions, in particular, her account of the Transverberation of her heart, were then fed back into the visual arts as various artists interpreted her experiences in order to spread her understanding of God throughout Catholic Europe.

MA (Master of Arts)
Teresa -- of Avila, Saint -- 1515-1582, Teresa -- of Avila, Saint -- 1515-1582 -- Art, Mysticism -- History -- 16th century, God -- Love -- Art, Martyrdom in art, Christian saints in art
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