“Atonement of Christ”: Church History’s New Installment in Online Exhibit Series

Contributed By Marianne Holman Prescott, Church News staff writer

  • 26 March 2015

Jesus Said to Her, “Mary,” by William Whitaker

Article Highlights

  • The “Atonement of Christ” is the fourth installment of the Church History Museum’s online exhibits.
  • The first three exhibits featured the birth of Christ, the life of Christ, and teachings of Christ.

“The one thing we have tried to do with the ‘Atonement of Christ’ is to look at the final days of His life and the few days after His Resurrection so the exhibit itself is set up to focus on some of the great works of art that talk about His triumphal entry into Jerusalem.” —Kevin Nielson, product manager of history.lds.org 

A new online exhibit compiled by the Church History Museum walks patrons through the Savior’s Atonement and Resurrection using both familiar and unique pieces of art. Despite the actual Church History Museum being closed for renovations, patrons around the world can enjoy depictions of the Savior’s sacrifice through an online gallery.

“We hope that by viewing and pondering these images, faith will increase,” said Alan Johnson, director of the Church History Museum. “The images in this exhibit of the Savior come from previous International Art Competitions and help fulfill a core part of our Church History Museum mission, which is to provide opportunities for each of us to reflect on His example and teachings.”

The online exhibit includes more than 30 images of artwork organized into six sections. The six categories—the triumphal entry, the Last Supper, Gethsemane, the crucifixion, the Resurrection, and the appearance at Emmaus—take patrons through the events leading up to and after the crucifixion.

“It really was designed to help people reflect on who Christ is at Easter time,” said Kevin Nielson, product manager of history.lds.org. “We set up the series so that the Atonement would come out as part of people’s remembering the Savior as part of Easter and to coordinate with the Church’s curriculum and the youth curriculum of learning about the Atonement.”

The online exhibit—available at history.lds.org/exhibit/atonement-of-christ—is part of a series of exhibits focused on Christ and showcases work in the Church History Museum’s collection and exhibits. In a timeline format, the exhibits were developed to work well on mobile phones and tablets.

Christ and Pilate Behold the Man, by Marcus Vincent

Christ in Majesty, by Richard Burde

Christ’s Entry into Jerusalem, by Minerva Teichert

“We put it out this month to help people in their personal study and in their callings in the Church,” said Brother Nielson. “And this time it is more than just the Sunday School classes—the youth of the Church have spent the month looking at the Atonement—and we hope that they come and use some of the visual pieces in [the exhibit].”

The narrative to the exhibit comes from verses of scripture from the New Testament.

“The one thing we have tried to do with the ‘Atonement of Christ’ is to look at the final days of His life and the few days after His Resurrection so the exhibit itself is set up to focus on some of the great works of art that talk about His triumphal entry into Jerusalem,” said Brother Nielson.

Some of the images may be familiar to patrons, while others are less known.

“We have tried to make sure the works of art from members around the world have been included,” said Brother Nielson. “By being able to compare [the images] side by side, each painting will reach out to different individuals and communicate to them in a different way that allows the Spirit to teach them in their lives. Each artist has [his or her] different way. They have been inspired in the works they’ve done, and I think they communicate through the Spirit.”

The online exhibits give patrons around the world the opportunity to “visit” the museum’s collection, despite proximity limitations and the museum being closed for renovations.

“The mission of the Church History Museum is to provide opportunities for individuals to connect to the history of the Church and those that have gone before us,” said Brother Johnson. “It is our hope that through these connections, people will take time to reflect on their relationship with our Father in Heaven and our Savior, Jesus Christ.”

Visit history.lds.org to view current and past exhibits.

Christ Appearing to the Twelve after the Resurrection, by Scott Snow

Christ Praying in Gethsemane, by Emile Wilson