By Rosemary Pollock
New Paintings, Jerusalem Model to Grace Temple Square Visitors Center
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- Utah's most popular tourist attraction, the
Visitors Center at Temple Square, is undergoing a renovation that
will feature several life-size works by Mapelton, Utah artist David
Lindsley. Lindsley will recreate 19th Century German artist Heinrich
Hofmann's famous "Christ in the Temple," along with 12 life-size
paintings depicting scenes from the life of Christ that will be
placed at the entry-level of the visitors center among a huge 3-D
model of Jerusalem.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints commissioned Lindsley
in February to assist them in emphasizing the centrality of Jesus
Christ in the Church's theology. With a deadline of the October
General Conference, Lindsley believes the 2002 Winter Olympics have
put the emphasis on the timing for the renovation. With oversight
from a member of the Quorum of the Twelve and a committee of Church
members and artists, Lindsley has submitted his preliminary paintings
for review. "There's nothing really written down to guide you. You
just kind of go by the recommendations," Lindsley said.
Lindsley, who is a Christian, never dreamed he would become part of
the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' thrust to emphasize
its Christ centered teachings. "I really tried to seek inspiration to
get the right look and feel," he said of the 7-foot by 8-foot by
10-foot depiction of the Nativity and of his recreation of Hofmann's
7-foot by 8-foot work showing Christ as a boy teaching the elders in
the temple. This piece will be placed in the entry lobby on the main
floor of the Visitor's Center and will replace scenes from the Old
Testament that will now move upstairs.
Ten of the paintings were formerly housed on the second floor of the
center and had to be literally peeled off the walls under Lindsley's
watchful eye. When Lindsley's paintings are finished they will be
shipped to a California preservation company who will apply a
protective film to each canvas that will then be mounted on large
aluminum panels and shipped back to Salt Lake City, where they will
be framed and eventually take their place in the Temple Square's
north Visitors Center's main lobby.
Of all of Lindsley's work, the depiction of the Nativity was
especially tender. "I wanted to imbue it with a spirit so as a viewer
you become emotionally attached. I've even left room at the center
bottom of the painting for you to become a shepherd, to kneel and
worship, so to speak...That's really my number one priority, to try
to imagine what it would look and feel like to be there," Lindsley
His greatest challenge has been the re-creation of Hofmann's
painting. Having never tried to copy another's work, he has made
several modifications, but that is what Church leaders have asked
for. Lindsley said he has yet to sign the work, but when he finally
does the signature will read, "David Lindsley after Hoffmann."
"Though the practice is unusual in the art world, it's certainly not
unprecedented," Lindsley said. "I look at it as basically honoring
him even though I had to make a few changes and concessions. I figure
if he has anything to say about it, he hasn't come and told me.
Wherever he is, I hope he likes it," Lindsley reflected.
Lindsley's work is being done in conjunction with the Latter-day
Foundation for the Arts, which has allowed him to donate his work to
the Church. "It works well for the church and the artists," Lindsley
said. "I hope this concept will succeed and hopefully spark a
mini-Renaissance among artists within the Church," Lindsley added.
LDS center to display 12 paintings of Christ
Deseret News 19May01 A2
By Carrie A. Moore: Deseret News religion editor
Mapleton artist is chosen to create 2 to go with 10 others
Model of Jerusalem also planned
Deseret News 19May01 A1