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Artwork of the Week

'Great White Throne' by Phillip Henry Barkdull

Artwork of the Week: June 24, 2024

GREAT WHITE THRONE
Phillip Henry Barkdull (1888-1968), 'Great White Throne,' 1930, oil on canvas, 41 3/8 x 33 1/2 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, gift of Mrs. Phillip H. Barkdull, 1968.

Phillip Henry Barkdull spent his career immersed in art, primarily as an art instructor and supervisor (including a year at BYU). However, between an emphasis on teaching and lifelong poor health, only a few years were prolific for Barkdull as an artist. The painting above comes from those most creative years: Great White Throne depicts the monolith of the same name, which rises nearly 2400 feet above the canyon floor at Zion National Park. Though the rockface is titled for its light grayish white color, Phillip Henry Barkdull projects warm reds and oranges onto the cliff wall, colors frequently found in Southern Utah’s landscape. These same glowing colors are reflected in the river, but the warmth is lost in the cold water, shaded by the formidable geological structure. Barkdull not only depicts an impressive scene, but manages to capture the desert’s familiar dry climate. Here, where the reds and oranges dominate the scene, there is still a calmness conveyed through the cool tones poking out from behind the clouds, and the stillness in the river. Great White Throne continues to make its mark today as a site for experienced climbers who, like Barkdull, have found inspiration on its face.

This painting will be on view in our upcoming exhibition Crossing the Divide: American Art from the Permanent Collection, which opens September 20, 2024.

Past Artworks of the Week

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'The Raising of Lazarus' by Rembrandt

July 15, 2024
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'The Visitation' by Käthe Kollwitz

July 08, 2024
Artwork of the Week: July 8, 2024
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'End of a June Day' by Mahonri Young

July 01, 2024
Artwork of the Week: July 1, 2024
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