Through May 7, 2011, Brigham Young University Museum of Art is hosting Carl Bloch: The Master’s Hand—an exhibit of Bloch’s paintings and etchings. Admission is free, but visitors must register for tickets—at CarlBloch.byu.edu.
Nine years in the making, the exhibit highlights four larger-than-life altarpieces of Christ from churches in Denmark and Sweden, and one former altarpiece. This is the first time they have been shown together.
In 1973 President Thomas S. Monson traveled to Frederiksborg Castle in Hillerod, Denmark, to see 23 of Carl Bloch’s paintings of the life of Christ. Dawn Pheysey, curator of this exhibit quotes President Monson as saying, “When I see a Carl Bloch painting, I feel … the spirit of Jesus and His ministry comes alive. I want to follow [His example], and, as a result, the depiction becomes a vibrant lesson of life.”1
Many Latter-day Saints feel the same. In Bloch’s own time, art critic Karl Madsen said of him that he “reached higher toward the great heaven of art” than anyone else. And Bloch said of his work, “God helps me … and then I’m calm.”
Latter-day Saints first saw 16 of Bloch’s paintings of the Savior in full color in the November 1962 Improvement Era. Today copies of Bloch’s paintings of Christ hang in LDS temples, meetinghouses, visitors’ centers, and also appear in Church magazines, manuals, and other materials.
“Bloch’s works illuminate the life and mission of the Savior with extraordinary power and insight,” says Campbell Gray, director of the BYU museum. “His paintings affirm Christ’s mission of salvation.”