On this second feast day (October 12) of Blessed Carlo Acutis since his beatification on October 10, 2020 in Assisi, Italy, The Catholic Man Reviews‘ moderator, Vincent Pham, Ivy Pham take time to speak about Artesanato Costa and their statue of Carlo Acutis.
If you have been following our blog for the past year or so, you may have noticed that The Catholic Man has a devotion to the Blessed Carlo Acutis. With review of four English titles (with one or two more coming in the near future) about the young Blessed, you may have a sense where this review is heading, but hold those thoughts! Today, we are reviewing an article related to Carlo Acutis, but it is not a book about him. Unlike the other the other reviews, this article comes to us from Brazil. Thanks to Artesanato Costa in São Paolo, Brazil, we have for feature on our blog today a beautiful 30cm statue of Bl. Carlo Acutis.
Why all the way from Brazil, you might be asking? Since the beatification of the young Blessed on October 10, 2020 in Assisi, the devotion to the Blessed has grown all around the world, particularly in Brazil. It was in Brazil that the miracle needed for Carlo’s beatification took place. A search of “Carlo Acutis Brazil,” or “Devotos de Carlo Acutis Brasil” (Devotees of Carlo Acutis in Brazil) on Google or on social media pages can reveal to one the extent and numbers of devotees there are. One of the leading figures of this devotion in the country is Fr. Fabio Vieira. He served for some years as postulator for the cause, particularly for the stage leading up to Carlo’s beatification (as the miracle for the beatification came from Brazil). Now that his role of postulator has concluded, after October 2020, he has returned to Brazil and is now the Rector of the Shrine of Nossa Senhora dos Remédios (Our Lady of Remedies). It is here that he has set up his “headquarters” for the Devotos de Carlo Acutis Brasil and has been travelling all over the country in recent months following the more relaxed COVID-19 measures. He continues to share and promote the story of the young boy Carlo and inspires other young people to follow in the young Blessed’s path to holiness.
Carlo Acutis’ “arrival” from Brazil to Toronto
On May 3, 2021, devotees of Carlo Acutis celebrated what would have been his 30th birthday. It was then that I saw a beautiful statue depiction of Bl. Carlo Acutis being circulated throughout social media. I immediately had to search for the company behind the production of the statues, and found that it was Artesanato Costa. To be fair, there have been small statue depictions floating around on the online market, mainly from Brazil, but they were not up to a premium, quality standard, probably an effect and result of quick mass production. These depictions that I saw came very shortly after Carlo’s beatification and the production was probably in response to the growing number of devotees.
Artesanato Costa only launched their statue of Bl. Carlo Acutis well into 2021 and in my opinion, the wait has paid off to be a handsome, premium product that urges one to reflect on the life and spirituality of Carlo Acutis. Carlo Acutis would say, “Non io ma Dio – Not I but God,” and so such depictions of holy figures like Carlo direct one not to the individual, but rather, to God as all the saints point to God. Yet, beauty is such an important factor that builds into this. A beautiful work of art only reinforces the need for one to ponder the Glory of God, and in this context, the beauty of art through depictions of the saints. I think this is the goal that Artesanato Costa has in mind in their creations as they continue to serve in this ministry of producing beautiful Sacred Art.
Late August, I brought the statue to be blessed by a priest, and one of the people standing near us remarked to how ordinary the depiction of Carlo is: a young man, with a polo shirt, jeans and tennis shoes… an image anyone can relate to. Personally for me, as a university student, that is very much visible on the university campus in the hundreds of thousands of students who walk the streets and enter the classrooms. Artesanato Costa’s depiction reminds us that sainthood is not for the extraordinary people, but like Carlo, for the ordinary, because in sainthood, it is through the ordinary that one reaches the extraordinary. I think it is so important to be reminded as such. I have kept the statue of Carlo Acutis on my desk in my bedroom (and soon, after today, it will have a more prominent place, like a “side altar” in my room) to be constantly reminded of how holiness does not require that I aim for grandeur tasks, but rather, being faithful in my current vocation as a son, a student, a lay person in parish ministry… and such depictions of the saints should remind one so. It is not merely decoration for an altar or the home, but should prompt some further action.
I was quite amazed when I saw the images of the statues by Artesanato Costa on Fr. Vieira’s social media pages, as well as that of Devotos de Carlo Acutis Brasil. However, I do have to say, the pictures do not do them justice. The detail on the statue is simply amazing. I have received statues which lacked details and they were, in bare terms, “cheap-looking.” Not the case with Artesanato Costa’s statue – there is much detail in the figure, from the face, his backpack, and down to even his tennis shoes. All the elements are in great harmony with one another. One thing I can be certain of, every statue has been given “individual” treatment of love and care that they deserve. For me, a very life-like statue.
Fr. Fabio Vieira visiting the studios of Artesanato Costa (@padrefabiovieira)
What would I recommend? Honestly, not much – all I would recommend would possibly be darker hair on Carlo since in the photographs, he has nearly all black, if not, black hair. He had a lighter, golden-brown in his younger years based on photographs I have seen.
** Update: After the publishing of this post, the hair on the statue will be dyed in a darker colour. **
Another consideration I would keep in mind would be size. Currently, the statue is available in 30cm and 60cm. The one used in this review is 30cm. When the statue arrived, I was honestly a bit surprised at how tall the statue was. I am used to 15cm statues. The tallest statue to date is probably the ~40cm wooden crucifix I have reviewed on this blog some years ago. The larger size, I think is appropriate in order to give it the full treatment of details and such, because features such as pupils of the eyes become very difficult to detail well on smaller statues. However, if one day, Artesanato Costa would consider making smaller sizes, I think they would be welcomed. I would love to see one of about 15cm for use in the space where I do my school work.
My sister, Ivy Pham who have been a familiar face and contributor of our blog shares similar sentiments, but is a bit more critical with her review of the statue, considering her passion in the arts:
I think overall this is a very well done statue. There is a lot of detail in it: creases in the fabric, fingernails, texture in his hair, shading and highlighting. There is what I interpret as “dirt” on his shoes and bag which I think gives it a realistic, well loved aspect. There is also just the slightest dusting of pink to his cheeks. I really like this detail; it helps gives the whole piece a youthful feel and I think that is very representative of Bl. Carlo and why his legacy is so attractive to many people, particularly young people. Often times with statues, there is a bit of “painting outside of the lines” and that is present with this statue, but it is very minimal so it does not distract from the overall piece. His facial features are very well done; I would imagine a lot of care was taken to achieve such a high level of precision. He even has pupils painted in with great detail. I am particularly taken by the base. The colour chosen for it is a great choice. It is a different colour from the rest of the statue but is still from the same colour palette so it doesn’t take away from the main features. I think the border at the bottom is absolutely beautiful. It just adds a little something without being overpowering since it is quite small. My biggest qualm with this statue is that Bl. Carlo has disproportionately long legs. From what I know, Bl. Carlo was quite tall, but I think his legs in this statue are a bit too long compared to the rest of his body. It doesn’t take away very much from the piece as a whole but I think it is something some people will notice if they took some time to truly look at the piece.
Overall, an excellent, job well done by Artesanato Costa, who through their art, has brought Carlo Acutis to 3-D form for his devotees all over the world. Devotees of Carlo might want one for their home altar or prayer space in their home. Youth groups might want to consider purchasing one for their youth group space in their parish. For me, this statue has another purpose – to hold my third-class relic of Bl. Carlo Acutis. How perfect!
Interested? You can check out more details about this 30cm statue of Carlo Acutis and purchase here. You can also check out details about the 60cm statue here.
You can check out Artesanato Costa’s great work and other products on their website at loja.artesanatocosta.com.br. If you want to see even more beautiful Sacred Art, I highly recommend their Instagram @artesanatocosta and their Facebook @ArtesanatoCosta62. Unfortunately at the moment Artesanato Costa cannot sell and ship abroad, but soon this will be possible. If you have any questions or concerns, you can contact their wonderful, caring staff via Whatsapp at +55 11 5670-5600.
Blessed Carlo Acutis, pray for us.
Official product images courtesy of Artesanato Costa – Please click on them to enlarge
Disclaimer: Vincent Pham was provided a sample of this statue to provide an honest review of the title on our blog. The Catholic Man Reviews thanks Artesanato Costa for the opportunity for us to review this statue of Carlo Acutis on our blog. All thoughts and opinions expressed in here are our own and reflect our sincere thoughts about the product.