Beholding requires more than merely looking. It involves considering and pondering, understanding and interpreting, receiving knowledge and holding in remembrance. Likewise, viewing religious works of art calls for more than simply recognizing familiar figures, places and narratives — it entails beholding true principles, profound doctrines and veiled meanings.
"Beholding Salvation: Images of Christ," a new exhibition on view at the BYU Museum of Art from Friday, Nov. 17 through June 16, 2007, will chronicle the life and ministry of Jesus Christ through 170 paintings, prints, icons, illuminated manuscripts and sculpture from diverse times and creeds.
It will be on view in the Marian Adelaide Morris Cannon Gallery on the museum's main floor during regular museum hours.
Admission will be free.
An opening reception for "Beholding Salvation: Images of Christ" will be held Thursday, Nov. 16 from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Lied Gallery on the museum's main level. Light refreshments will be served.The campus community is welcome to attend
This exhibition will explore the artistic styles, conventions and symbols used in Christian art to engage the viewer and to encourage a deeper understanding of the viewer's relationship with Deity.
"Over the centuries Christian artists have developed certain conventions that in and of themselves convey significant concepts to the minds of prepared viewers. These canons of representation encouraged reflection on the life of Christ and solidified religious doctrines," says Museum of Art curator Dawn Pheysey. "In much the same way that generations of faithful observers gained a heightened reverence for the Savior and his ministry, we hope that today's viewers will be edified and inspired to greater devotion through contemplation of these sacred images."
Many of the works in this exhibition were produced by European artists, working in earlier times under the auspices of the Roman Catholic Church, a powerful patron of the arts for many centuries. Others were created to further the teachings of the Protestant reformers, while others were inspired by modern-day revelation. Regardless of the specific tenets these artworks were intended to express, viewers can transcend doctrinal differences by ascribing personal meaning to the images.
"We can learn much about the divine nature of Christ's ministry from the works of these artists — Catholic, Protestant or Latter-day Saint — and from the iconography that facilitates communication of these hallowed events and ideas," Pheysey says. "Whether motivated by personal beliefs, commissioned by a wealthy patron or mandated by a religious institution, these images teach and reinforce religious doctrine and promote private contemplation."
The majority of artwork in "Beholding Salvation" comes from the Museum of Art's permanent collection. The museum's collection of narrative and conceptual Christian art includes paintings, prints and sculptures from the 15th century to the present.
This exhibition will include introspective and thought-provoking works from the collection by Carl Heinrich Bloch, Albrecht Dürer, John Rogers Herbert, Sir Edward John Poynter, Rembrandt, Ron Richmond, Ary Scheffer, Bernard Sleigh, Minerva Teichert and the Workshop of Titian.
Additional works in the exhibition are on loan from artists, private collectors and various lending institutions, including the Sarah Campbell Blaffer Foundation, the Utah Museum of Fine Arts at the University of Utah, the Snite Museum of Art at the University of Notre Dame, the Pierpont Morgan Library and Museum and the Museum of Church History and Art of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
This exhibition is sponsored in part through donations from the George S. and Dolores Dore Eccles Foundation, BYU Broadcasting and Classical 89, KBYU-FM.
Writer: Christopher Wilson