Sunday, December 5, 2010

Conference Center Artwork

As soon as Jacob—I mean, Elder Carter—disembarked at the Mission Training Center on Wednesday afternoon, Ed and I turned the truck toward the open road. Since then we have been in northern Colorado, staying at the home of Ed’s mother, Caryl.  It's been a busy few days, and today we are finally traveling back home, where Sarah and Dylan await us.  In fact, I am sending this post from Santa Fe, New Mexico, but I will blog about the last few days of our travels when I return home.
Meanwhile, I wanted to share some of the artwork we enjoyed while touring the huge Conference Center in Salt Lake City. Every wall of every room on every floor is graced with beautiful paintings, sculptures, and other objects of art. Here were a few of my favorites.

This is the oldest painting in the entire building, painted 205 years ago! I’m not sure who is depicted here, but I love the almost photographic quality of the figures.

I have a particularly soft spot for stained glass. This pane depicting Lehi and his wife Sariah with the Tree of Life really captured my imagination.

The artist who did this painting, a man by the name of Arnold Friberg, did a series of paintings depicting scenes from the Book of Mormon. When he died recently, his pre-funeral viewing was held in a room of the Conference Center where the whole series of his paintings line every wall.

This particular painting made certain church leaders uncomfortable, due to the graphic portrayal of men and women killed in battle at the bottom of the painting. When it is reproduced, usually the bottom portion of the picture is cut off. Personally, I think those bodies really conjure the horror and loss of the final battle.

When we entered the Conference Center, we saw this fountain on the ground floor. It resembled a pile of shining, broken glass, but was not too interesting, in my opinion. Then we climbed upward two floors and looked down upon this hanging and the fountain. I thought it was beautiful then. The man who led our tour guide said it reminded him of the seagulls and the crickets.

This was another gorgeous stained glass pane of Jesus and the lame man by the pool.

I also loved this painting of the five wise and five foolish virgins. I hope I’ll be found among the wise when the Bridegroom comes!

Finally, this is my favorite piece of all the lovely art we enjoyed. This small sculpture of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ appearing to a young Joseph Smith is unusually striking from first glance. Then our tour guide spun the base of its stand to show us the back of the sculpture.

I love this. When Heavenly Father introduced our Savior by saying, “This is my beloved Son,” would He not have placed His arm warmly about the shoulders of His perfect Son? What loving father wouldn’t do the same thing? It’s a wonderful reminder of how our Father in Heaven loves us, His children.

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