Pascal Ory constructed this book around two intertwined themes: “The Ecstasy of Saint Teresa”, the famous sculpture by Bernin from 1652, which was celebrated by Stendhal and Lacan alike. This work is housed in the Santa Maria della Vittoria Chapel in Rome, which appears to exude just as much sexual pleasure as a mystical quality. It does not cease to be a subject of conversation in the art world just as in the Catholic Church. The second theme chosen by Ory is the story of his own delights.
This book is a mix between an auto-portrait and Italian 17th century history. We get a glimpse into the triumph of Catholicism over Protestantism, the invention and implementation of the baroque style, and an introduction to Pascal Ory’s childhood, which is overshadowed by his Journalist and international correspondent father.
There is a seamless transition from one century to another and from city to city; well-known people such as Ava Gardner, Marlène Dietrich, David Bowie, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, Maria Casarès, Alain Bashung all the way to Michelangelo make an appearance.
Pascal Ory is a 20th century historian, university professor, food and graphic novel critic in addition to being a cinephile, and interested in theater, literature and a keen observer of societal movements in the contemporary era. He is the author of Ce que dit Charlie, which was published in January 2016.