Homage to St. Theresa

Claudio Bravo (Chilean, 1936–2011)


59 1/2 x 78 in. (60 x 78 1/2 x 1 1/4 in. overall)

Accession Number


Medium or Technique

Oil on canvas

On View

Bravo Restaurant (Restaurant 266)


Americas, Contemporary Art



A tour de force of trompe l’oeil or “fool the eye” effects, the illusion of paper and string wrapped around a canvas in this painting showcases Bravo’s exceptional skills as both a draughtsman and painter. Producing a number of “package paintings” during the 1960s, Bravo created this series at a period when abstraction derived from non-traditional art materials dominated European and American art. He also acknowledged an interest in the work of the Catalan artist Antoni Tapies who incorporated actual, humble objects in his textured paintings and abstract sculptures. Many of Bravo’s “package paintings” were given enigmatic or allegorical titles. The title here refers to the 16th century Saint whose mystical experiences are well known through her own writings and depictions of her visionary and ecstatic states by other artists. St. Theresa’s rapturous state has often been interpreted as erotic by art and theological historians and Bravo, who believes that eroticism in art should be subtle, states, “Eroticism is one of the greatest constructive forces of life. It makes me want to live… The eroticism in my work is mainly an unconscious element. It’s present in my depictions of men, women, apples. There is nothing I can do to change the fact that eroticism is a large factor of my inner life”.


Lower left: CLAUDIO BRAVO; lower right: MCMLXIX
(Unable to check verso)


The artist; About 1969, to Melvin N. Blake and Frank M. Purnell, New York; gift of the estate of Melvin Blake to MFA, Boston, January 22, 2003

Provenance note: Melvin Blake and Frank Purnell purchased this painting directly from Bravo. Blake noted that he traveled to Bravo's studio in June 1969. He returned to New York with three pictures. He also commented that, once the paintings arrived in New York, he was "surrounded by paintings of packages." He then got George Staempfli to give Bravo a solo show at his New York gallery. This exhibition was held in 1970 and included Homage to Santa Teresa with Collection of Dr. Frank Purnell as the credit line. [Blake in Trower 1997: 9-10] and [Staempfli 1970]

Credit Line

Melvin Blake and Frank Purnell Collection


© Claudio Bravo, courtesy, Marlborough Gallery, New York