VALLE, Filippo della
(b. 1698, Firenze, d. 1768, Roma)

St Therese of Ávila

1754
Marble
Basilica di San Pietro, Vatican

At the beginning of the eighteenth century, a cycle of founders of the religious orders was intended to complete the sculptural decoration of the nave of St Peter's. Della Valle's St Teresa of Ávila belongs to the series.

This statue remains in thrall to the example of Rusconi (the greatest name among the sculptors participating in the project), and its similarity to his master's Lateran statues is evident. More significant, however, is the sculptor's careful avoidance of any detail which could bring to mind Bernini's Ecstasy of St Teresa; even the angel with the fiery dart has been reduced to a harmless cherub with a token heart.