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Beholding salvation

Christ-themed exhibit is a consequence of faith and testimony

PROVO, Utah — BYU's Museum of Art Curator Dawn Pheysey enlists a moment from scripture to help describe the museum's Christ-themed exhibit "Beholding Salvation: Images of Christ."

Rembrandt's "Head of Christ" imagines Jesus near the time of His mortal ministry.
Rembrandt's "Head of Christ" imagines Jesus near the time of His mortal ministry. Photo: Image courtesy BYU/MOA

Recall the 11th chapter of 1 Nephi where Nephi is shown, in vision, the Christ child in the arms of His mother. Nephi, said Sister Pheysey, is not told to merely look at the Baby Jesus. Instead, the young prophet is invited to "Behold the Lamb of God, yea, even the Son of the Eternal Father."

Visitors to the recently opened exhibit — which includes some 170 works of art chronicling the Savior's mission — are being issued a Nephi-like invitation to once again behold. The rich display "calls for much more than simply walking through quickly," said Sister Pheysey. To truly experience "Beholding Salvation," museum guests must become active participants — pondering, considering, interpreting and remembering the artistic images about them.

The paintings, sculptures and prints that form the exhibit are wide-reaching, celebrating Christ's continuing mission over time and space. Some of the works were completed centuries ago, while others are just months old. Each is "a consequence of an individual relationship with Jesus Christ," said museum director Campbell Gray.

Sister Pheysey said the task of identifying and acquiring the works of the exhibit was a faith-promoting experience for all who were involved. Eighty-five of the works in the exhibit belong to the museum's permanent collection, with the others on loan from artists, private collectors and various institutions. Included in "Beholding Salvation" are the emotional, interpretive works of Carl Heinrich Bloch, John Rogers Herbert, Sir Edward John Poynter, Rembrandt, Minerva Teichert and the Workshop of Titian.

"Beholding Salvation" is formed from a diverse group of artists. J. Kirk Richard's oil was painted earlier this year.
"Beholding Salvation" is formed from a diverse group of artists. J. Kirk Richard's oil was painted earlier this year. Photo: Images courtesyBYU/Moa

LDS visitors will likely recognize J.T. Harwood's image of Jesus beckoning His fishermen-apostles to follow Him, while museum regulars can again appreciate Bloch's massive work depicting Christ healing the sick at Bethesda. Meanwhile, Rembrandt's quiet "Head of Christ" anchors the exhibit with its intimate representation of an adult Jesus, perhaps preparing to embark on His mortal mission.

"Beholding Salvation: Images of Christ" will be on display on the museum's main floor through June 16, 2007. Admission is free.

The BYU Museum of Art is open Monday, Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Tuesday and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. The museum is closed on Sundays.

Images such as Christ at Bethesda anchor the exhibit.
Images such as Christ at Bethesda anchor the exhibit. Photo: Image courtesy BYU/MOA
Images such as the raising of Lazarus anchor the exhibit.
Images such as the raising of Lazarus anchor the exhibit. Photo: Image courtesy BYU/MOA
The Museum of Church History and Art loaned J.T. Harwood's "Come Follow Me" for the exhibit.
The Museum of Church History and Art loaned J.T. Harwood's "Come Follow Me" for the exhibit. Photo: Image courtesy BYU/MOA
An illuminated manuscript facsimile from a 14th-century book depicting the Last Supper demontrates the exhibit's broad media.
An illuminated manuscript facsimile from a 14th-century book depicting the Last Supper demontrates the exhibit's broad media. Photo: Image courtesy BYU/MOA
"Beholding Salvation" is formed from a diverse group of artists. This image was crafted in 1860.
"Beholding Salvation" is formed from a diverse group of artists. This image was crafted in 1860. Photo: Image courtesy BYU/MOA

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