Artwork of the Week: April 19, 2020
Minerva Teichert (1888-1976), King Benjamin’s Farewell Address, c.1949-1951, oil on masonite, 36 x 48 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, 1969.
Standing atop a tower suggestive of the Castle at Chichen Itza, King Benjamin delivers his farewell address. It was a sermon accompanied by a powerful outpouring of the spirit that led to widespread conversion, a renewed commitment of discipleship, and an extended period of peace throughout the land. Dressed in the red and gold robes of royalty, King Benjamin stands as a mortal ruler inviting his people to recognize and worship the eternal Heavenly King who is the forthcoming Savior, Jesus Christ. In a stance similar to images of the Savior with outstretched arms, King Benjamin reminds his people that he has “labored with [his] own hands” (Mosiah 2:14) in an effort to teach service by example. He encourages those listening to serve one another for when they do, they are really in the service of their God (Mosiah 2:17). The scribes on either side of King Benjamin allude to the importance of keeping sacred records so that the people might recall the commandments of God and the testimonies of prophets, past and present.
Minerva Teichert had an abiding love for the Book of Mormon that is evident in her thoughtful and inviting depictions of its scriptural narratives. The details of this scene were based on sketches Teichert made during her travels to ancient ruins in central Mexico.