Friday, October 21, 2016

The Commission

Last Saturday I visited the Brigham Young University Museum of Art
to see an exhibition entitled A Visual Testimony: Minerva Teichert’s Book of Mormon Paintings.

Minerva Teichert (1888–1976) was an American painter notable for depicting Western and Mormon subjects, including a collection of murals depicting scenes from the Book of Mormon. These forty-two murals are part of the BYU museum's permanent collection, and they are the subject of this exhibition.

The following photographs show some of my favorite snippets from the murals, depicting Teichart's emphasis on the significance of women in the Book of Mormon history:

From Alma Baptizing at the Water of Mormon.

From Helaman's Striplings.

From Morianton's Maidservant.

From The Sacrament.

I love Teichart's art and enjoyed this exhibition immensely, simply as an opportunity to see her work.

Because of The Year of Yes, however, something else about the exhibition impressed me. I'll attempt to illustrate that impression with two excerpts from the narrative of the exhibit and a sentence from her biography on Wikipedia:
    At age four, Minerva's mother presented her with a set of watercolor paints. From that time on, she knew that she was meant to be an artist.
    Teichert studied under Robert Henri, and she recounts this exchange with him: "One day he said to me: 'Has anyone ever painted that great Mormon story of yours?' 'Not to suit me.' 'Well, good heavens, girl, what a chance! You have the greatest things on earth to paint. You do it. That's your birthright.' "I felt I had been commissioned!'"
    Teichart once explained "I must paint", when asked about how she persisted in painting despite being in near-complete artistic isolation, without a dedicated studio or even much free time to create.
Minerva Teichart had a vision of what she was to do with her life and said Yes to accomplishing it!

Minerva Teichert, Wikipedia.
A Visual Testimony: Minerva Teichart's Book of Mormon Paintings. "Current Exhibitions," Brigham Young University Museum of Art.

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