The BYU Museum of Art’s recently opened exhibition “Sacred Gifts” is a ticketed event. Visitors are asked to reserve free tickets online at sacredgifts.byu.edu before viewing this remarkable display of European religious art.
There’s good reason for the reservation system. Museum officials want to limit the number of visitors to “Sacred Gifts” at any one time to allow individuals to have just that — an individual, quiet experience with the artwork that might be diminished by big crowds.
It’s a wise policy. “Sacred Gifts” truly offers patrons a personal opportunity to experience moments from Christ’s mortal ministry through the artistic talents of three 19th century painters: Carl Bloch, Heinrich Hofmann and Frans Schwartz. Highlights include Christ’s loving interaction with children, the cleansing of the temple, the healing of the sick, the Crucifixion and the triumphant Resurrection.
“Sacred Gifts” features 20 religious paintings on unprecedented loan from churches and museums from Europe and New York. Many are familiar to Latter-day Saint audiences — including Bloch’s iconic “Sermon on the Mount” and Hoffman’s “Jesus in the Temple.”
The exhibition, which runs through May 10, 2014, is the first of its kind. “The paintings you will see have never been seen before together,” said curator Dawn Pheysey.
Visitors can enjoy “Sacred Gifts” in full by utilizing the exhibit’s interactive iPad app and, if they choose, rent an IPad to use in the galleries. A 5-minute introductory film also introduces patrons to the exhibition’s background and themes.
Curators call the historic art event a celebration of Christ’s life, love and teachings — the most holy of all gifts. “This sacred exhibition is truly a sacred experience,” said museum director Mark Magleby.
There’s good incentive to make at least two visits to “Sacred Gifts.” The eight Carl Bloch oratory paintings will only be on view four at a time. The first four are now on view. The second four will replace the first four in late February of 2014.