Costa, Europe’s Number One Cruise Line, has commissioned a monumental bronze sculpture by world-renowned artist Fernando Botero for its newest ship, the Costa Luminosa. The bronze sculpture is currently taking shape at the Mariani foundry in Pietrasanta, Italy, where Botero creates his works using the ancient traditional technique of lost wax casting. Once completed, the work of art will be installed in the atrium of the Costa Luminosa in May 2009, when the ship comes into service.

“Reclining Woman 2004” depicts a voluminous female figure staring into space, daydreaming in a reclining position with a subtle and ironic expression and with her legs in a dynamic position of movement. The sculpture, which is 346 cm in length, 177 cm in breadth, 152 cm in height and 910 kg in weight, boasts an imposing presence which defines and influences the surrounding space, establishing an ongoing dialogue with the decoration in the atrium of the Costa Luminosa. The lone individual is the subject of many of the artist’s works, which often feature single female figures in striking poses, with expressions and attire that Botero uses to telling effect in order to convey personality, experience, thought and desire.

“The decision to acquire the sculpture ‘Reclining Woman 2004’ by Fernando Botero for the Costa Luminosa is first and foremost the consequence of a personal passion for that artist’s creative work as a whole and also represents the continuation of a tradition for Costa, namely that of decorating our ships with contemporary works embracing the various forms of expressive art and displaying them to our guests on vacation,” said Pier Luigi Foschi, Chairman and CEO of Costa Crociere.  “This particular sculpture by Botero has such expressive force and energy that it will interact with and influence the setting and interior design in the spectacular atrium of the ship where it is to be permanently exhibited.”

The Costa Luminosa (92,700 gross tonnage and total guest capacity of 2,260) will be a trendsetter in contemporary design. The ship will draw her inspiration from the idea of light in all its forms and in keeping with Costa Cruises’ tradition of choosing a central theme for the interior decoration of each ship. With the Costa Luminosa, this theme will highlight iridescent interiors decorated with superior materials including fine marble, wood and mother-of-pearl and the use of state-of-the-art technology that will provide stunning light and color effects. Botero’s specially commissioned sculpture will become the symbol of the ship herself, which will combine the very best of the Costa product, designed to satisfy even the most discerning customer.

The central staircase onboard the Costa Luminosa will display a set of previously unpublished photographs, entitled “A Homage to the Master” and consisting of nine panels by Matteo Piazza depicting the artist Botero at work on paintings and sculptures.  The large photographs are in black and white and measure 210 x 120 cm.

As with all ships in the Costa fleet, the public areas and cabins on the Costa Luminosa will feature the works of selected contemporary artists commissioned to carry out original creative projects based on the central idea of interior decoration. The ships in the Costa fleet are veritable floating resorts offering accommodations, entertainment, enjoyment and relaxation for over one million guests each year.  Costa’s multimillion dollar art collection aboard its fleet of ships is displayed in public areas of the ship, which become natural settings for the display and appreciation of works of art in a traveling exhibition seen by a vast and culturally diverse public.

Over the past 60 years, Costa has established itself as a modern-day patron of the arts by acquiring and installing works of art onboard its fleet of ships by leading international sculptors and paintings commissioned from contemporary artists and inspired by themes of each ship. These constitute an artistic heritage and superb floating collection on all 12 ships in service.

Costa Cruises is Italy and Europe’s number one cruise line.  For the past 60 years its ships have sailed the world, offering the best in Italian style, hospitality and cuisine and providing dream vacations with the best in fun and relaxation. In 2007 over 1.1 million guests chose to cruise with Costa, a record for the European cruise industry.  The company’s 12 fleet members, each with her own distinctive characteristics and unique style, all fly the Italian flag and sail each year to 250 destinations in the Mediterranean, Northern Europe, the Baltic Sea, the Caribbean, South America, the United Arab Emirates, the Far East and the Indian Ocean.

Five more vessels have been commissioned and will enter service by 2012. Costa Cruises has been certified by RINA (Italian Shipping Register) with the BEST4, an integrated system of voluntary certification of corporate compliance with the highest standards governing social accountability (SA 8000, issued in 2001), environment (UNI EN ISO 14001, 1996), safety (OHSAS 18001, 1999) and quality (UNI EN ISO 9001, 2000). All Costa’s ships have been awarded RINA’s voluntary “Green Star” notation based on the highest environmental protection standards.  Costa Cruises is also an official partner of the WWF for the protection of the marine ecoregions of the Mediterranean, the Greater Antilles and Brazil.