“My soul doth magnify the Lord.”
— Luke 1:46
That simple yet life-defining statement has been reverently uttered by believers of Christ since the dawn of time. And for centuries, those skilled with a paint brush, a sculpting tool or, perhaps, a carving knife have “magnified” their love for the Master and His works through art.
No other figure has been represented more in artistic creation than Jesus Christ. For centuries, artists have utilized their talents to testify of His divine mission and capture key moments from His mortal ministry that can inspire, comfort and instruct.
Brigham Young University’s Museum of Art has gathered more than 75 pieces of art from its collection to form “To Magnify the Lord: Six Centuries of Art and Devotion.” Featuring artwork from the 1500s to the present, the exhibition includes Christ-themed pieces from European masters such as Rembrandt, Edward Poynter and Ridolfo Ghirldandaio, along with the works of Mormon artists such as Ron Richmond, Bruce Smith and Minerva Teichert.
Located in a basement gallery, “To Magnify the Lord” is presented in soft light. A quiet reverence is felt as museum patrons spend a moment or two viewing each of the dozens of pieces on display. Time and space seem to disappear as artists, many long dead and hailing from a variety of nations, offer their artistic testimonies to present-day viewers.
Besides the many depictions of Christ, the exhibition also focuses on exemplars of Christian beliefs, such as the prophets and saints. Visitors, as noted in the display’s posted narratives, can learn “patterns of discipleship” through their actions.
Much of the artwork included in “To Magnify the Lord” is familiar. But several other paintings are making their public debut, including a painting of Christ by Utah artist James T. Harwood and three newly acquired paintings: “The Blind Man at the Pool of Siloam,” by Edmund Blair Leighton; “The Wise and Foolish Virgin,” by the German artist Julius Wilhelm Louis Rotermund; and “Manoah’s Sacrifice,” by Rembrandt student Govaert Flinck.
Admission to the exhibition is free.
The BYU Museum of Art is located on the Provo campus and is open Monday through Saturday; it is closed on Sunday. Visit Moa.byu.edu or call 801-422-8287 for more information.
[email protected] @JNSwensen