Santo (from the Spanish word meaning "saint") is a traditional New Mexican genre of religious sculpture. The word "santo" is also used to refer to individual works in this genre. Santos are carvings, either in wood or ivory, that depict saints, angels, or other religious figures.
This beautiful Santo is from the Eric Cortina Collection. Artists in the Phillipines start with Eric's original design and hand carve each figure piece out of mahogany. A different carver then creates the head and hands using softer wood. Every piece is unique and has it's own personality which is displayed in the carving of the face and glass eyes.
After each piece is carved, it is entirely covered in gesso which provides a surface for the various layers of paint used in Eric's finishing process. They are then packed, crated and shipped to the Cortina studio, where they are stained, painted, sanded and hand distressed to make each piece unique.