Note from The Catholic Man: Brothers and sisters, for the first time ever, The Catholic Man Reviews is hosting a series for Christmas gift ideas. Throughout the year, having received many review copies of books, and other items to review, and having searched websites, I have saved the top 12 things to review over the next 12 days at the beginning of Advent so that you can have enough time to buy gifts. Also, with this series, I am officially pulling on board my sister, Ivy Pham, to be a reviewer on The Catholic Man Reviews. She has done guest reviews before but I have decided to give her a permanent role. She will, alongside, me review the many items that comes to us.
Through The Catholic Man’s Lense
Am I the only one who likes going on the Catholic supply store websites, or flipping through Church supply catalogues and looking at the different chasubles, chalices, and Catholic furnishings even without the intention of buying anything? Well, I have done so on Holy Art’s site for many years. A couple months ago, I was contacted by someone on behalf of Holy Art to review their website and offered me a product to review here on The Catholic Man Reviews. Given the choice to choose one thing on their site was difficult because everything is beautiful. In the end, I chose a wooden standing crucifix, the Multi-patinated table crucifix, Corpus model in multi-patinated Model: CR004052. I didn’t specify the size when I replied to the e-mail, but when it arrived, it was the 35cm model. I was in fact looking for a crucifix for my bedroom altar. I’ve been to many Catholic shops, but in the end, this specific crucifix really captivated me.
Handcrafted in Valgardena maple wood, the crucifix was lighter than my expectations – not that this really matters – but I have held wooden crucifixes that were fairly heavy in weight. According to their website, the crucifix is only 0.6kg.
I noticed that when the crucifix arrived, the base and the crucifix were separate. The crucifix has a hole in the back for hanging and a hole on the bottom to insert the base in. I like how this crucifix could be hung or used on a table top.
In place of this crucifix from Holy Art, for 11 years, a crucifix from Vietnam was used, which had a painted corpus. This crucifix was not painted but rather multi-toned patinated which was really interesting. I liked how the artist used different tones on the corpus. The details were very well carved and probably very time consuming. Honestly, I favoured the corpus on the crucifix from Holy Art. This may be justified with the big price difference between the two (even though both crucifixes are similar in height). You get what you pay for! That’s right. $142.07 USD for a 35 cm crucifix, while the one from Vietnam would have costed you anywhere between $10.00 – $15.00 USD. But big difference in its beauty.
Even in this beauty, I use the crucifix on my bedroom altar for my own devotion, not decoration. Pope Francis has said that the crucifix should be used for prayer and not for decoration. I had crucifix blessed by a priest the day after it arrived. Often, before I go to sleep, I kiss the feet of Jesus on the cross, as to renew that action that we do each year at the Good Friday Liturgy at the veneration of the cross.
Some criticisms I have is first of all, the location of the nails on the corpus. It’s not only the case with this specific crucifix, but almost every crucifix I’ve seen in a Catholic store. If the nails were drawn through the palm of the hand or the sole of the foot, the victim would not hold. Victims were often nailed through the wrists and through the ankle and heel. I have discussed this fact with some friends. Some say it’s for artistic sake.
But another point I saw a little questionable with this specific crucifix was the fact that there is no side wound, as recorded in the Bible and in most crucifixes. Was it left out on purpose? I don’t know.
But overall, beautiful crucifix, truly a piece of Sacred Art for devotional use.
Ivy’s Point of View
Since I’ve already been introduced, I think it’s best if we just jump in. The amount of detail in the statue is amazing. The muscles are defined in all the right places. Even smaller details, such as the tendons in your wrist that become more prominent when you make a fist, are there. The hair frames the face nicely, with enough carved into it that it is defined without looking like a mess of scratches. The same could be said for the beard. The detailing in the hair continues even behind Jesus’ head. The two strands which make up the crown of thorns I find to be a bit too thick, but it is really hard to make it much thinner, especially if it was hand carved like they claim. I do commend the amount of detail that was put into the crown, though; if you look behind Jesus’ head, you can see the carver added what looks like a knot, holding the thorns together. All elements on Jesus’ face are placed and proportioned well. The hands and feet are not missing any fingers or toes, and also come with nails – both the keratin ones and the metal ones. They too, are in proportion to the rest of Jesus’ body, and I find it an added plus that his hands aren’t exactly the same. I find it adds character to the crucifix. The piece of cloth frequently seen wrapped around Jesus is well done. The wrinkles are nicely placed and they, like other small details, don’t stop once you get to Jesus’ back side. It is the extra thought that went into the design of this corpus, such as that of the cloth, that sets it apart from other crucifixes we see on the market.
The use of the various shades of the same brown is a good way to add colour to the crucifix without painting it. I think we have also all seen poorly painted statues, and this is a good way to avoid that. The undertones are about the same so the different shades don’t clash. The dark and light tones are all well placed.
If I were to change anything, I would have the nail in Jesus’ feet go straight through to the cross itself, or have His feet almost flat up against the wood. Jesus’ right heel touches the cross, and that is it. The nail kind of just disappears into His feet, and He’s just left to dangle from his hands.
Overall, the price tag on this crucifix is admittedly rather steep, but I think it is worth it, assuming the person you are giving it to (can totally be yourself!) deserves it.
Holy Art’s Store and Services Review – by The Catholic Man
As mentioned before, even before I was even e-mailed by Holy Art, I was fascinated by the wide range of great products on there. Some things I couldn’t imagine on that site, were available and in stock ready for sale, including a variety of host baking machines, the balsam used in the Sacred Chrism , and a very large selection of accessories for your nativity scene. Holy Art has several divisions for different customers from different countries:
- For British friends www.holyart.co.uk
- For American and Global friends www.holyart.com
- For German friends www.holyart.de
- For Spanish friends www.holyart.es
- For French friends www.holyart.fr
- For Italian friends www.holyart.it
- For Polish friends www.holyart.pl
Therefore, a very user-friendly store, accommodating for customers of different countries. Very easy to contact, and responds quickly to messages. If you scroll down to the bottom of the web page, you can change currencies very easily. Personally, I would prefer if the currency converter were at the top of the page, but that is personal preference.
Holy Art has a wide range of religious articles, sacred vessels, furnishings and appointments. One things they lack though is a wide selection of Liturgical books and Spiritual classics. I have only seen Italian Liturgical Books and some non-English Bibles. I hope to see more English books in stock.
Shipping is always a big concern for online shoppers, and be assured. Holy Art said that my crucifix would be shipped within four days. I didn’t believe that fact so much since the crucifix was shipped from Italy from holyart.it. But I was proved wrongly. My crucifix was shipped within four days directly from Italy via DHL.
On The Catholic Man’s Scale:
The crucifix ★★★★1/2 4.5/5
Website ★★★★★ 4.5/5
Services ★★★★★ 5/5
If you want to choose from a wide range of religious materials this Christmas, I highly recommend Holy Art, especially if you are a last minute shopper.
Looking for a Bible? A pocket Rosary? (hint, hint)… stay tuned over the next 12 days for more reviews!
4 thoughts on “Day 1: Holy Art and the Multi-patinated Table Crucifix, 12 Days of Christmas Gifts Review”
Pingback: Day 2: Running Press’ Pope Francis Bobblehead and Book | The Catholic Man Reviews
Pingback: Beauty: A Necessity in Catholic Liturgy (with Holy Art) | The Catholic Man Reviews
Pingback: Beauty: A Necessity in Catholic Liturgy (with Holy Art) | Vincent Pham
Pingback: Review: Artesanato Costa Sacred Art, with Blessed Carlo Acutis statue | The Catholic Man Reviews