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Artwork of the Week

Artwork of the Week: Riding the Girder

Riding the Girder
Mahonri M. Young (1877-1957), 'Riding the Girder,' c.1940, oil on canvas, 42 3/8 x 39 1/2 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, purchase/gift of the Mahonri M. Young Estate, 1959.

This Labor Day, we celebrate Mahonri Young- a social realist and grandson of Latter-day Saint prophet Brigham Young. Young celebrated laborers throughout his entire career- both in his art and in his personal advocacy.

Riding the Girder features two young men looming over the then-contemporary menagerie of Industrial America. One actively gazes down at the scenery below, while the other—presumably exhausted from work—rests on the construction equipment. Cloaked in vivid scarlets and gleaming alabaster, the metropolis clearly stands out from the lackluster vestments of the laborers.

Regardless, Young’s attitude regarding this brave new world is left to interpretation. Are the rapid strokes of pastel meant to evoke a cloudy sunrise, or a sky tainted by factory smokestack pollution?

Guest author: Curatorial intern Tessa Haney

Past Artworks of the Week

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Artwork of the Week: Right to the Jaw

April 15, 2024
Mahonri Mackintosh Young, the grandson of President Brigham Young, was born in Salt Lake City, Utah in 1877. Throughout his career, he created more than 320 sculptures
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Artwork of the Week: Christ Preaching (La Petite Tombe)

April 08, 2024
Rembrandt Van Rijn, born in 1606, remains one of the most significant artists of the Dutch Golden Age, celebrated for his depictions of the emotional and spiritual states of the human soul.
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Artwork of the Week: Duet for Single Musician

April 01, 2024
James C. Christensen was a celebrated American artist and illustrator. A BYU alum and former faculty member, he drew inspiration for his whimsical style from fairytales, legends, as well as his Christian beliefs.
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