PROVO — The BYU Museum of Art announced a new exhibition of religious art on Monday, and many of the pieces have never been seen in North America.
The Museum of Art created one of the most highly-attended exhibitions in the country several years ago with the works of Carl Bloch. Now curators are bringing together more of his works plus the works of two other religious artists.
Priceless paintings are leaving churches and museums in Denmark, Sweden, Germany and the Riverside Church in New York City to create the exhibit. Scenes from the life of Christ, created by 19th century artists Carl Bloch, Heinrich Hofmann and Frans Schwartz, will come together to create the "Sacred Gifts" that will showcase in Provo.
"They are going to be gone from the churches for over half a year, and you can imagine that is a sacrifice but they understand how much our audience is interested in these works," said BYU Museum of Art director Mark Magleby.
Many Christians, including Latter-day Saints members are familiar with and use copies of the religious art in their church services and home decor. However, curators said that there is nothing like seeing the real thing.
"They have never been removed from the castle since that ime and they will never be removed again."
"Being able to see a painting with all of its luminosity and vitality is so different from just seeing a picture of it in a book or a print on the wall," said BYU Museum of Art head curator Dawn Pheysey.
Top Danish government officials gave the museum permission to borrow eight Carl Bloch paintings installed in the Fredericksborg Castle in the 1860s.
"They have never been removed from the castle since that ime and they will never be removed again," Pheysey said of the historic experience.
Mette Skougaard, the director of the Fredericksborg Castle said that the historic loan was due to the appreciations that Utahns have of Carl Bloch and his work.
"We do it as appreciation of the veneration that the people of Utah have for Carl Bloch and the understanding and interest in his work," Skougaard said.
The "Sacred Gifts" exhibition will open at the Museum of Art on November 15th. The exhibit is free, but visitors need to make reservations for tickets.