he BYU Museum of Art welcomes the works of renowned artist Carl Bloch for the first time out of their native Denmark. His thoughtful depictions of the Savior have had profound influence on the lives of Christians all over the world. Bloch's portrayals of Christ possess a unique and timeless quality. They pull viewers into their story by engaging directly with the moral conflict and humanizing their characters'struggles. They affirm Christ's mission of salvation and challenge the viewer to contemplate what it means to have living faith, a principle the artist lived his life by.
Bloch was born in Denmark in 1834. He was born and raised Lutheran and practiced their faith for the duration of his life. After discovering and pursuing a passion for art in his youth, Bloch attended the prestigious Royal Danish Academy of Art in Copenhagen. Though a faithful Christian, it was not until later in his career that he began painting the Savior. Because of his acclaimed work, Bloch was later commissioned to paint twenty-three depictions of the Savior's life in the Frederiksborg Castle. Later he was commissioned by various congregations in Denmark and Sweden to create religious altarpieces, several of which will be featured in the exhibition.
While respected by many Christian faiths, Bloch's work has come to be particularly meaningful to Latter-day Saints. Though during his life Bloch was considered a master at his craft, he was largely forgotten after his death and the rise of the Impressionist movement. Half a century later and half a world away, LDS people in the Salt Lake Valley discovered and developed a love for his artwork. From then on, it has been used to beautify many Church publications, LDS meetinghouses and temples throughout the world.
The Museum's miraculous acquisition of Christ Healing the Sick at Bethesda in 2001 deepened the Church's connection to Bloch. Now, after several years of negotiations with many of the churches and museums in Denmark and Sweden, nearly forty of Bloch's works have traveled to the Museum of Art to be seen together for the first time ever outside their homes.
Through Carl Bloch's masterful paintings, visitors will come to recognize the hand of the Savior in their lives. Come experience these powerful works of art in their originality.
Self-Portrait, 1886, Oil on canvas, the Museum of National History at Frederiksborg Castle.
The Artist's Wife, Alma Bloch, Née Trepka, 1868, Oil on canvas, Statens Museum for Kunst, Copenhagen, © SMK Foto.
The Artist's Parents, Mr. and Mrs. J. P. Bloch in Their Sitting Room, 1855, Oil on canvas, Private collection of John L. Loeb Jr.