BYU Museum of Art Covers Six Centuries in “To Magnify the Lord” Exhibition

Contributed By Jason Swensen, Church News staff writer

  • PROVO, UTAH

The new To Magnify the Lord exhibit is now on display at the Museum of Art in Provo, Utah.  Photo by Hans Koepsell, Deseret News.

Article Highlights

  • A Christ-themed exhibition at BYU’s Museum of Art covers six centuries.
  • The exhibition features artwork from the 1500s to the present.
  • Several of the paintings are making their public debut.

“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 paintbrush, 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.

Saint Paul, an early 16th-century German wood carving from the workshop of Viet Stoss is displayed at the Museum of Art in Provo, Tuesday, September 13, 2016. Photo by Hans Koepsell, Deseret News.

A stained glass window, Jesus and the Woman at the Well, artist unknown, at the Museum of Art in Provo, Tuesday, September 13, 2016. Photo by Hans Koepsell, Deseret News.

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.

Patricia Hail from England views one of the 75 pieces of art at the Museum of Art in Provo, Tuesday, September 13, 2016. Photo by Hans Koepsell, Deseret News.

Shauna Beard admires artist Emil Jamel's piece, Last Supper, carved from alder wood, at the Museum of Art in Provo, Tuesday, September 13, 2016. Photo by Hans Koepsell, Deseret News.

The Crucifixion, a triptych, is displayed at the Museum of Art in Provo, Tuesday, September 13, 2016. Photo by Hans Koepsell, Deseret News.

Uta Jenkins from Alabama, center, and DeNee McBride, right, view a painting at the Museum of Art in Provo, Tuesday, September 13, 2016. Photo by Hans Koepsell, Deseret News.

Head of Christ, a 17th-century painting from the Circle of Rembrandt Van Rijn, is displayed at the Museum of Art in Provo, Tuesday, September 13, 2016. Photo by Hans Koepsell, Deseret News.

British artist William Dyce's piece from 1849, St. John Leading Home His Adopted Mother, is seen at the Museum of Art in Provo, Tuesday, September 13, 2016. Photo by Hans Koepsell, Deseret News.

Chelsey Rencher, left, and Tyler Jensen view art at the Museum of Art in Provo, Tuesday, September 13, 2016. Photo by Hans Koepsell, Deseret News.

A reproduction of German artist Ernst Barlach's sculpture Meeting Again is seen at the Museum of Art in Provo, Tuesday, September 13, 2016. Photo by Hans Koepsell, Deseret News.

French artist Simon Vouet's 17th-century oil on canvas, Pietà, is displayed at the Museum of Art in Provo, Tuesday, September 13, 2016. Photo by Hans Koepsell, Deseret News.

Christ Entering Jerusalem, a bronze sculpture by French artist Jean-Léon Gérôme, done in 1897, is shown at the Museum of Art in Provo, Tuesday, September 13, 2016. Photo by Hans Koepsell, Deseret News.

A welded steel sculpture by American artist Robert V. Bullough, The Prophet, is displayed at the Museum of Art in Provo, Tuesday, September 13, 2016. Photo by Hans Koepsell, Deseret News.

Debi Harrison from California looks at the 17th-century Russian piece Nativity and Adoration of the Magi at the Museum of Art in Provo, Tuesday, September 13, 2016. Photo by Hans Koepsell, Deseret News.

A tempera on panel by an unknown Russian artist from 1680, Nativity and Adoration of the Magi, is displayed at the Museum of Art in Provo, Tuesday, September 13, 2016. Photo by Hans Koepsell, Deseret News.

Dead Christ from an Entombment Group, circa 1470, is seen at the Museum of Art in Provo, Tuesday, September 13, 2016. Photo by Hans Koepsell, Deseret News.