Prints and Drawings
Photo credit: Yale University Art Gallery
Full-size image not available for download. Please contact Rights and Reproductions.
Artist: Audrey Flack, American, born 1931, B.F.A. 1952

The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa



image: 57.3 × 40.7 cm (22 9/16 × 16 in.)
sheet: 73.9 × 56.1 cm (29 1/8 × 22 1/16 in.)
Gift of the Experimental Printmaking Institute and the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts Press

Part of a body of work featuring historically misrepresented heroines, Audrey Flack’s image of Saint Theresa derives from Gian Lorenzo Bernini’s famous Baroque sculpture of the saint. Just as she did in Lady Madonna (1980.66.1), Flack focused on the saint’s face in The Ecstasy of Saint Theresa. She added a flying, phallic lipstick and an erotic quotation—a double entendre of sexual and spiritual ecstasy—from the saint’s autobiography. The resulting image challenges traditional depictions of Saint Theresa as, in Flack’s words, “a middle-aged de-sexualized nun” and instead portrays her as “a beautiful vibrant young woman in the throes of intense passionate feelings.”

Made in United States
20th century
Works on Paper - Prints

Acquired directly from printer


“Acquisitions 2014,” (accessed December 1, 2014).

Lisa Hodermarsky et al., On the Basis of Art: 150 Years of Women at Yale, exh. cat. (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Art Gallery, 2021), 14, 63, 80, 82–83, 156, no. 9, fig. 2.

Note: This electronic record was created from historic documentation that does not necessarily reflect the Yale University Art Gallery’s complete or current knowledge about the object. Review and updating of such records is ongoing.