Art an Integral Part of Visualizing The Book of Mormon

Historically, illustrations help convey the scriptural stories found in the Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ. Artists’ creations vary in concept and content. From the familiar compositions of Arnold Friberg (1913–2010), who passed away 1 July 2010, that define Book of Mormon characters in oversized, muscular terms, to the gentle, even romantic impressions created by Minerva Teichert (1888–1976), or to the contemporary realism employed by Walter Rane, stories from the scripture come to life on canvas.

“Often a painting is part of a personal testimony of the Book of Mormon,” suggests Dave Ericson, Salt Lake City art historian. “Rather than looking at reality of the setting, the painting’s purpose is to help develop faith, not to answer all the questions.”

“Friberg’s works have come to visually represent the Book for Mormon to the Church,” said Robert Davis of the Church History Museum. “People see themselves in the scriptures. They see what they look like, and to Friberg, the characters of the Book of Mormon looked like the strong and sturdy people of his own Scandinavian lineage.”

Contemporary Book of Mormon artist Walter Rane agrees. “It’s not the costumes or the architectural features or the facial characteristics that are important in a scriptural painting; it’s the feeling created in the observer.” (See online exhibit of Rane’s paintings).

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