BYU Museum of Art presents new exhibit “Of Souls and Sacraments: Symbol and Context in Christian Art”

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The BYU Museum of Art’s new art exhibit,“Of Souls and Sacraments: Symbol and Context in Christian Art,” will be on display until July 13, 2024.

The exhibit focuses on symbols and themes from Christianity to inspire viewers to gain new understanding of Christianity through art. “Our intent is that each section is varied and thought-provoking so that there’s something for everyone,” said MOA religious art curator Ashlee Whitaker.

Viewers will be able to recognize some of the prominent artists presented in the exhibit, such as Anthony van Dyck, Luca Giordano, Jusepe de Ribera and Benjamin West.

“Regardless of our community’s faith affiliation, there’s something incredible to gain from approaching an artwork that speaks of faith and spirituality through someone else’s lens,” Whitaker said.

The exhibit is separated into five themes: (1) “Authority,” (2) “Being in but not of the World,” (3) “Mary the Mother of Christ,” (4) “The Body of Christ” and (5) “The Cross.”

According to Whitaker, the exhibit is visually and historically rich, with artwork dating back to the 1300s.The intention behind this display is to “invite thoughtful introspection on big themes in Christian history—themes that have touched the hearts of those who sought hope and the promise of salvation through faith.” According to Whitaker, the exhibit shows how such symbolic motifs have been approached at different times throughout history, each offering a new perspective.

Les Tippetts, a BYU communications alumnus, said the beauty of the display is the emphasis on Jesus Christ. He said he loves the unique way the colors come together in the different pieces of art. For him, he said this new style of representing the same ideas is striking.

“As a student it’s easy to get lost in the deadlines and the papers and tests and midterms,” Jacob Passmore, a BYU Family Life student said. “To have this space where you can come and be, it enables me to personally refocus and do better as I leave.”

According to Whitaker, the goal of having the exposition for two years is to give students the chance to visit, revisit and then reevaluate their feelings about it.

“The different paintings, the different pieces of art, they all speak to you in your own way based on your own experiences,” Passmore said.

The MOA is open Monday-Saturday and is free to all visitors. Those who are interested in experiencing this new exhibit can head to the Museum of Art website to learn more about dates and times.

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