SALT LAKE CITY — Seventeen original oil paintings depicting epic Book of Mormon scenes will be on temporary display at the Museum of Church History and Art in Salt Lake City. The paintings, all by award-winning artist Walter Rane, will be on display at the museum from Monday, 22 September, through Sunday, 12 October.
The exhibit is being offered by the museum in cooperation with Deseret Book Company, which recently used the paintings to illustrate one of the company’s newest publications, By the Hand of Mormon: Scenes from the Land of Promise. The 17 paintings made their first public appearance recently at Brigham Young University’s Museum of Art. The Museum of Church History and Art is hosting the exhibit to give people in the Salt Lake City area a chance to see these exquisite works.
Walter Rane is no stranger to the Museum of Church History and Art. The museum has acquired several of his religious works and has displayed many of his paintings in various exhibits in the past several years. Art curator Robert Davis said, “Over half a dozen of Walter Rane’s paintings from the museum collection are now on display in the Conference Center for the public to enjoy.”
The 17 paintings in this new exhibit, also entitled By the Hand of Mormon, feature familiar events from the Book of Mormon. However, Rane likes to depict elements of a story that are not often told. For instance, his painting of Samuel the Lamanite shows Samuel receiving instructions from a heavenly being rather than the more familiar scene of Samuel standing on top of a city wall preaching to the wicked people of Zarahemla.
Events and people from the Book of Mormon have been common themes for Latter-day Saint artists for years. Rane’s beautiful images have become extremely popular in recent years, capturing a great deal of attention from artists, critics and Church members. His paintings are intended to evoke emotion in audiences. Rane said: “I don’t try to paint as if I were there with my camera capturing the moment.” Instead, he seeks to portray the feelings of the event.
For example, in his painting of Moroni mourning the death of his father, Mormon, Rane seeks to reflect the inner feelings of Moroni through dramatic lighting, bold colors and a windswept landscape. “I’ve tried to take scripture stories and come up with feelings and gestures, composition, colors and movements,” Rane explains, “so viewers will connect with the paintings.”
Greg Olsen, another well-known Latter-day Saint artist, said: “This collection represents the most significant and inspiring Book of Mormon art in the past 40 years — maybe ever. It is a ‘must see.'”
By the Hand of Mormon can be seen at the Museum of Church History and Art, Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. and Saturday, Sunday and most holidays from 10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. The museum will close early at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday, 25 September. The museum is located at 45 North West Temple Street in downtown Salt Lake City and just one-half block north of the Temple Square TRAX station. Admission is free.