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Posted 27 May 2001   For week ended May 25, 2001
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Sent on Mormon-News: 22May01

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 said.

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


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