The MOA acquired the work in 2021. It is now on display on the lower level of the Museum.
In April 2021, the Museum of Art acquired The Return from Calvary, a stunning portrayal of John the Beloved, the Virgin Mary, Mary Magdalene, and others in the aftermath of Christ’s crucifixion. In the far distance, the small silhouettes of three crosses are just visible againsts the horizon. At the time of its acquisition, this painting by 19th-century British artist Herbert Schmalz needed a new frame and some conservation work, but it is now on display at the MOA for the first time.
The MOA's fabrication team, led by John Adams and Taylor Kite, undertook the solemn task of creating a frame worthy of this masterpiece, and you can see part of their process in the video above. The result is a stunning display of black and gold, highlighting the painting's rich palette with elegance and beauty.
“This impactful painting encourages us to imagine the reality of Christ’s Atonement and its impact on the characters who loved him in scripture, but more importantly ourselves,” said Ashlee Whitaker, Roy and Carol Christensen Curator of Religious Art at the MOA. “We felt this artwork a fitting contemplation for our times: who among us has not felt something of the anguish of unexpected loss or pain or uncertainty?"
The MOA is indebted to the Wheatley Family, whose generous contributions made the acquisition possible. We invite all to come see the painting in its new home on the lower level of the Museum.