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Blessed Ludovica Albertoni

Posted on Oct 18, 2009 | 13 comments

There’s not enough I could ever say about Gianlorenzo Bernini. He truly is my favorite sculptor and every time I see one of his pieces, no matter how often I’ve looked at it before, I always marvel at what he is able to accomplish with texture, light, and emotion. These are things that continue to be an influence for me while I take my photography. This particular sculpture is one I’ve been meaning to shoot for quite some time. In fact, I attempted to get it this summer but there was a mass being held in the church and I didn’t have the proper lens. A lunch appointment in Trastevere yesterday gave me the excuse to photograph this sculpture, located in the church of San Francesco a Ripa. It’s one that many tourists probably don’t bother to stop in, as it’s on the quieter side of Trastevere and isn’t perhaps as “known” as some of the other churches in the area. For those of you that are St. Francis buffs, he was said to have spent some time lodging here and you can even have one of the priest’s let you into his cell next door if you find them and ask. I did that several years ago and it was quite interesting.

But, back to the sculpture. The Blessed Ludovica Albertoni was completed a little over 20 years after the Ecstasy of St. Theresa, to which is shares many similarities. This makes perfect sense, as both St. Theresa and Ludovica Albertoni (who was made a saint about 140 years after her death) were known for experiencing religious ecstasies. My friend who was with me yesterday remarked that she couldn’t believe the light I’d gotten in the little chapel and I replied that it wasn’t due to me, but Bernini’s expert use of a window on the left side of the chapel. He created the sculpture knowing that it would allow light to rain down on her face and create a beautiful mix of light and shadow. I recommend highly that you see it for yourselves in person. I also highly recommend that you check out two other detailed shots I’ve posted to my Flickr one emphasizing her face and the other her hand as it presses into her chest.


  1. fabulous photo-I absolutely love Bernini, he brings emotion to all his work for everyone to see. Thanks to you for introducing me to his works

  2. Oh wow. You're absolutely right about the texture, light and emotion. This is a magnificent sculpture. And thank you for the art lesson — I don't think I would have noticed the part about the light if you didn't point it out.

    Great photography too! I think you'd have made Bernini proud.

  3. Gorgeous and very emotional.

    Bernini is my favorite sculptor as well.

    I have no idea where this church is. Is it on the same side of Trastevere as the Santa Cecilia church?

  4. Nonna – My pleasure mom!

    Hilda – Glad to help you discover the lighting trick. And I'm blushing to think Bernini would even possibly have liked my photo.

    NYC – Exactly, same side as Santa Cecilia but further south from the Tiber Island, if that makes sense. If you click on the link that says "San Francesco a Ripa" you'll see the google map. PS. Love reading about your capoeira class!

  5. Indeed a great shot, Jessica, as was the lamp post. I have been to the church,seen the statue and knew about the light Bernini used here and with St. Theresa, but, as I've said before, your pictures show me about the close-ups I have seldom thought to take.

  6. Oh my God, that's amazing! I feel a little religious ecstasy just looking at this photo… Whoo!

  7. Truly impressive, pure beauty…

  8. I don't think I have the proper words to express my love for Bernini. I saw this sculpture for the first time in person the other day with class and was blown away. Love your photos of it.

  9. You my friend, have captured this piece to perfection. It's exquisite.

  10. Beautiful! She is on the list for my next trip to Rome! Thanks!

  11. Jessica – fabulous photo… Bill and I stopped in the church one day to kill time when we were "early" for dinner (i.e. it was before 8 p.m.) and I said – boy, that looks like Bernini's Sta Teresa (duh!)… we also found out later DeChirico is buried there… did you see his tomb? have no idea what it's like. Long time ago someone took me to see a reliquary in a side room of the church that was unbelievable – how many little bones can one put in how many places? So the church is a gem… and not that often visited. I recall reading that the street – via S. Franceso a ripa – was designed to take the wealthy family who owned the whole place from the piazza of Sta Maria in Trastevere to San Franceso a Ripa in a straight shot.
    Again, just amazing photo and commentary…. Ottimo. Dianne

  12. i just came from Rome! Bernini is amazing. his sculptures that are on display at the Villa Borghese truly took my breath away. the details are incredible!!

    i love Rome. it is now one of my favorite cities!

  13. Hi everyone, I'm happy to have introduced you to a new Bernini for those of you who didn't know it previously or to simply give those of you who have seen it, another reminder of why it's great. One of the wonderful things about the blog is that it gets me back out to see things as well, as I haven't gone to see this sculpture in a few years.

    Lee, the Borghese sculptures are my favorites! Unfortunately they allow no photography inside the museums, which is the only reason I have no shots of those on the blog.

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