BYU Museum of Art’s new art exhibit, On Souls and Sacraments: Symbol and Context in Christian Art, runs through July 13, 2024.
The exhibition focuses on the symbols and themes of Christianity to inspire viewers to gain a new understanding of Christianity through art. “Our goal is to make each section diverse and thought-provoking so that there is something for everyone,” said MOA Religious Art Curator Ashley Whitaker.
Viewers will be able to recognize some of the prominent artists featured in the exhibition, such as Anthony van Dyck, Luca Giordano, Josepe de Ribera and Benjamin West.
“Regardless of the religious affiliation of our community, we can gain something incredible from approaching a piece of art that speaks to faith and spirituality through the lens of another person,” Whitaker said.
The exposition is divided into five topics: (1) “Power”, (2) “Being in the world, but not of the world”, (3) “Mary, Mother of Christ”, (4) “Body of Christ” and (5) “Cross”.
According to Whitaker, the exhibit is visually and historically rich, with artwork dating back to the 1300s. The intention of this exposition is to “invite thoughtful introspection on the great themes of Christian history—themes that have touched the hearts of those who have sought the hope and promise of salvation through faith.” According to Whitaker, the exhibition shows how such symbolic motifs were approached at different times in history, each of which opened a new perspective.
Les Tippetts, a BYU communications graduate student, said the beauty of the exhibit is its focus on Jesus Christ. He said that he likes the unique way the colors are combined in different works of art. For him, he said, this new style of presenting the same ideas is fascinating.
“As a student, it’s easy to get lost in deadlines, papers, tests, and midterms,” said Jacob Passmore, a BYU Family Life student. “Having this space to come and be, it allows me to personally refocus and work better while I’m gone.”
According to Whitaker, the purpose of hosting the exhibit for two years is to give students a chance to visit, view and then reassess their feelings about it.
“Different paintings, different works of art, they all speak to you in their own way based on your own experience,” Passmore said.
The MOA is open Monday through Saturday and is free to all visitors. Those interested in seeing this new exhibit can visit the Art Museum website for dates and times.