Baroque sculptors felt free to combine different materials within a single work and often used one material to simulate another. One of the great masterpieces of baroque sculpture, Giovanni Bernini's St. Theresa from the Cornaro Chapel, for example, succumbs to an ecstatic vision on a dull-finished marble cloud in an alabaster and marble niche in which bronze rays descend from a hidden source of light. Many works of Baroque sculpture are set within elaborate architectural settings, and they often seem to be spilling out of their assigned niches or floating upward toward heaven.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.