Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824-1904), Les Rameaux (Christ Entering Jerusalem), 1897, Bronze, 32 x 10 x 30 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, purchased with funds provided by Jack and Mary Lois Wheatley, 2009.
On Oct. 24, 1841, Orson Hyde, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, climbed the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem and dedicated the Holy Land, invoking the Lord’s blessings on the land and on all of the children of Abraham. This sculpture of Christ entering into the city of Jerusalem on Palm Sunday helps us remember the sacred events that happened in Jerusalem many years ago. Primarily known as a painter, French artist Jean-Léon Gérôme increasingly turned to sculpture near the end of his career; he created this thoughtful religious work at the age of 73. The table-top bronze sculpture depicts the beginning of Christ’s last week on earth, which will culminate in his resurrection on Easter Sunday. Here, Jesus rides solemnly into Jerusalem, raising His right hand in blessing while holding a palm branch in the other hand. The palm fronds lying on the ground suggest the surrounding multitude who spread their robes and palm branches in His path while crying, “Hosanna to the Son of David.” Gérôme was able to include remarkable details such as the donkey’s hair, the wilting leaves of Christ's palm branch, and the folds of Christ’s drapery.