Lacan and Bernini's "Ecstasy of St. Teresa" Argumentative Essay by ClemenceD

Lacan and Bernini's "Ecstasy of St. Teresa"
Looks at Bernini's "Ecstasy of St. Teresa" in the context of constructing the self as presented by psychoanalyst and philosopher, J.-M. Lacan.
# 151839 | 4,280 words | 18 sources | MLA | 2012 | GB
Published on Oct 12, 2012 in Art (Sculpture) , Philosophy (History - 20th Century) , Psychology (General)

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This paper reviews the life and work of J.-M. Lacan in his approach to understanding the concept of the subject and its self-representation that he considered as being nurture rather than nature and freely chosen rather than fixed, Next, the author presents Lacan's paper from July 1949, "The Mirror Stage" that led others to consider him to be the Master of Baroque because of Lancan's fascination in analysing the moments that live out fantasies. The paper details Bernini's "Ecstasy of St. Teresa" and argues that this sculpture and its setting, using Lacan's psychoanalytical analysis, not only enables the viewer to understand the apparently incoherent, delirious style of the saint, but also to understand the women who inspired it. Several illustrations, quotations and footnotes are included. Some sources and quotations are in French.

From the Paper:

"In the midst of the child's efforts to overcome the physical challenge its bodily condition commands, and forgetting about them, this recognition is both held as instantaneous and joyful, of a brisk, expansive joy. This is the Aha-Erlebnis, or "aha experience" (Ger.), in Wolfgang Kohler's Gestalt psychology, i.e., the decisive moment the child grasps the connection between its imago, or external appearance ("likeness," Lat.), and its own corresponding existence in the 'Real,' not that of any one else instead. And its positive reaction is significant: Lacan calls this exuberant joy a "jubilant assumption." When the child, at last, assumes him/herself as subject, he/she is jubilant of acknowledging a whole new world before him/her (we have previously mentioned the Real, the Imaginary: only remains the Symbolic, which will come into play with speech). The mirror stage, Lacan tells us, "reveals both a libidinal dynamism . . . and an ontological structure of the human world [from the Innenwelt, i.e., inner world, to the Umwelt, i.e., outer world (Ger.)]:" this is the first intuition of the unity of one's own body and the introduction to the concept of representation, that is, being able to organise images and to situate oneself in the realm of these images."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Baltrusaitis, Jurgis, Anamorphoses ou Thaumaturgus Opticus; Vol. 2: Les perspectives depravees, Vol. 2, 3rd ed. (Paris: Flammarion, 1984).
  • Baudrillard, Jean, 'The Ecstasy of Communication,' in Hal Foster, ed., Postmodern Culture (London: Pluto Press, 1983), 126-134.
  • Careri, Giovanni, Envols d'amour : Le Bernin, montage des arts et devotion baroque ([Paris]: Usher, 1990).
  • Clement, Catherine, Vies et legendes de Jacques Lacan (Paris: B. Grasset & Fasquelle, 1981).
  • Clement, Catherine and Julia Kristeva, Le Feminin et le sacre (Paris: Stock, 1998).

Cite this Argumentative Essay:

APA Format

Lacan and Bernini's "Ecstasy of St. Teresa" (2012, October 12) Retrieved March 29, 2020, from

MLA Format

"Lacan and Bernini's "Ecstasy of St. Teresa"" 12 October 2012. Web. 29 March. 2020. <>