Catholic Statues?

In the East, there is a huge amount of theology that goes into iconography, what they show, represent, and the iconography as a thing itself. I mean, volumes of volumes of books can be written on icons, and I’ve seen examples of how they represent really deep mysteries through symbols, colors, and the imagery presented (on a level that I would have never understood unless someone told me).
An example is how the situation of icons with the Theotokos and Symeon within an archway in this church makes it so to represent the presentation of Christ at the temple, that when an individual looks at the icon of the Theotokos with Christ, YOU are the subject of Symeon and hence are the one receiving Christ. Just one example.

However, the West seems to use statues more often in the church setting, and I was wondering is there any kind of theology or deeper meaning to statues than meets the eye? From my limited knowledge, it seems like they are statues with realistic representation of human anatomy that conveys some kind of Saint or Christ in some Christian fashion (such as the Madonna, or Saint holding something associated with him/her). Beyond that, I can’t seem to understand them as anything else than just statues. So is there a deeper aspect to statues that I am missing? Thanks!

They allow us to focus on a particular person or idea by giving us something visual to latch on to. For instance, when you see a painting or statue of St. Sebastian’s martyrdom, it helps you to more fully realize just how big a deal being martyred is - you see the pain and suffering that he had to endure, and you remember exactly why you’re a Christian in the first place: because not even death can separate you from God, only your personal choices.

Statues and images help ground us in the physical realities of our faith.

Not in the way you describe, no. They are meant to help us focus in prayer. They can depict details of the Saint’s life for sure, for example, martyrs tend to be holding a palm branch. But there’s not as deep catechesis in these beautiful representations. They are works of art that inspire. Iconography is it’s own sort of catechesis, as are stained glass windows.

The conclusion then is that the principle of adorning chapels and churches with pictures dates from the very earliest Christian times: centuries before the Iconoclast troubles they were in use throughout Christendom. So also all the old Christian Churches in East and West use holy pictures constantly. The only difference is that even before Iconoclasm there was in the East a certain prejudice against solid statues. This has been accentuated since the time of the Iconoclast heresy (see below, section 5). But there are traces of it before; it is shared by the old schismatical (Nestorian and Monophysite Churches that broke away long before Iconoclasm. The principle in the East was not universally accepted. The emperors set up their statues at Constantinople without blame; statues of religious purpose existed in the East before the eighth century (see for instance the marble Good Shepherds from Thrace, Athens, and Sparta, the Madonna and Child from Saloniki, but they are much rarer than in the West. Images in the East were generally flat; paintings, mosaics, bas-reliefs. The most zealous Eastern defenders of the holy icons seem to have felt that, however justifiable such flat representations may be, there is something about a solid statue that makes it suspiciously like an idol.

They’re visual reminders, mostly. Remember the stories, and follow them.

Artists preference of media they have at hand? The first time I saw a replica of MIchaelangelo’s Pieta, it took my breath away… I was almost there with Mary

I prayed the Divine Mercy in front of a replicate of the Pieta. It was at the Basilica in St. Louis, MO. A deeply moving and amazing moment.

I was moved to the moment of which she held him in her arms. Wow. Having two sons moved to tears and beyond; I gave up even holding it together.

Statues of our beloved brothers and sisters in Heaven help me to focus, remind me of their trials and reward, and reminds me that they also love me, and want me to be with Christ as they are.

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