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Sacred Gifts of Bloch, Hofmann and Schwartz on display for first time in U.S.

The Brigham Young University Museum of Art is expecting record attendance for its newest exhibition, Sacred Gifts: The Religious Art of Carl Bloch, Heinrich Hofmann and Frans Schwartz.

The museum now houses nearly two dozen paintings of Christ from these master painters, secured from museums and donors in New York City, Denmark, Germany and Sweden. Some of the paintings are displayed outside of their home locations for the very first, and possibly last, time.

Museum of Art head curator Dawn Pheysey said overall the new exhibition brings together and displays a host of different gifts.

“First of all there’s the gift of the artists, their talents,” Pheysey said. “There’s the gift of the museums and the donors who’ve let us borrow these works, and the gift of many donors who have helped to make this exhibition even possible. There’s our gift, the museum’s gift to the community, to be able to bring this exhibition to them. Then, of course, the ultimate gift, the gift of the Savior.”

While admission to the exhibition is free, it is still a ticketed event. You canregister for ticketsnow. They have been going fast. 30,000 have already been secured. It’s recommended to plan ahead and attend early to avoid crowds.

The museum’s most recent ticketed show, Carl Bloch: The Master’s Hand, was one of the most highly attended museum exhibitions in the country while on view in 2010 and 2011. It operated at full capacity during the exhibition’s final months. A total of 306,000 people attended.

Many who visit the new exhibition will recognize the paintings displayed. Prints of some of the original works are seen in many LDS meetinghouses around the world and in church publications. Sacred Gifts allows patrons to see the original works first hand.

The Museum of Art partnered with BYU’s Laycock Center and Center for Teaching and Learning to create an iPad app to help users discover more about the exhibition. The app offers an opportunity to learn much more about the pieces, where they come from and the powerful messages they portray. The museum offers iPads on loan for $3 to patrons, and the app includes text about the paintings, video messages and interviews, and even activities for children.

Sacred Gifts will run through May 10.

“We hope that people will not only reflect upon the gifts of these artists, but also reflect upon their own gifts that they have been given,” Pheysey said, “and how they can use those gifts to bless the lives of those around them.”

Writer: Jon McBride