Nearly 135 years after 19th century Danish painter Carl Bloch completed it in 1880, The Mocking of Christ will be unveiled in its new home at the BYU Museum of Art on Thursday, June 4 at 9a.m. during a press conference. The painting will be on display for public viewing from 11a.m. - 1p.m. that same day.
"This is the first religious painting by Carl Bloch to enter the market in thirteen years, since Christ Healing the Sick at Bethesdawas purchased for our museum by Jack and Mary Lois Wheatley," said Mark Magleby, Director of the BYU Museum of Art.
Peter Titelbech, a Danish art dealer, is credited with discovering the piece, which had previously been in a private collection since it was sold at auction in 1935. Mr. Titlebeck will be present at the press conference to discuss The Mocking of Christ and its remarkable history.
"Peter Titelbech is the author of a forthcoming book which will be the only comprehensive study of Carl Bloch's etchings," said Magleby. "His extensive knowledge has made him a trusted dealer, and an advisor to museums and auction houses."
This version of The Mocking of Christ was painted in 1880, the same year as the painting many visitors are familiar with the Ordrup Church in Denmark. The painting is rendered in grey, black and brown colors and painted on mahogany. The other version, in Ordrup Church, is more colorful, slightly larger, and painted on canvas. This painting is an emotive depiction of Christ prior to the Crucifixion. A leering soldier leans towards Christ, his face full of vindictive spite. However, the focus is very clearly on Christ's direct and imploring gaze to the viewer.
Carl Bloch's depictions of the life of Jesus Christ have become particularly familiar to Utah audiences through their regular use in LDS church publications and meetinghouses, and are also revered by many Christian faiths. In 2013, the BYU Museum of Art presentedSacred Gifts,an exhibition of two dozen religious paintings by Carl Bloch, Heinrich Hofmann, and Frans Schwartz, most of which had never before been seen in the United States, which saw hundreds of thousands of visitors during the exhibition.
Other Bloch pieces in the BYU Museum of Art collection include Christ Healing the Sick at Bethesda as well as dozens of etchings including Christ With a Crown of Thorns and The Daughter of Jairus.
The new acquisition will undergo conservation following the unveiling and public viewing to best preserve the piece so that visitors in the museum can enjoy it for decades to come.
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One of the largest and best-attended art museums in the Mountain West, the BYU Museum of Art offers a dynamic exhibition schedule that includes displays of its permanent collection, world-class traveling shows and thought-provoking exhibitions organized by museum curators. One of the museum's most important roles is its contribution to the academic mission of Brigham Young University. From the research and study of the artworks in the permanent collection, to the teaching and learning that occurs in classrooms and galleries, the museum plays an important role in the academic pursuits of many students at BYU. Concurrently, the museum seeks to connect to broad community audiences through its exhibitions and educational programming.