MARCH 28 – APRIL 3
Eanger Irving Couse (1866 – 1936), Lamb, no date, oil on canvasboard, 5 x 5 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, gift of Dr. Joseph Riggio, 1976.
“Why is this night different from all other nights?” A child typically asks the question, inviting the retelling of the story of the Hebrews’ deliverance from Egypt during the celebration of Pesach, or Passover. The children of Israel were ultimately spared from death, destruction, and bondage, protected by the blood of an innocent lamb. Ultimately, it was this pain and bloodshed that purchased their freedom. Eanger Irving Couse’s painting of a lamb reminds us just how small, defenseless, and innocent a lamb is. In 12 days, Passover will begin, and Jewish communities around the world will remember this story as instructed in Exodus 12. How does remembering tales of deliverance help us today?
APRIL 4 – 10
Detail from James Jacques Joseph Tissot (1836-1902), The Waters are Divided, c. 1896-1902, gouache on board, 4 x 11 1/8 in, The Jewish Museum, New York. Image provided by the Jewish Museum, New York. Gift of the heirs of Jacob Schiff.
Exodus 14-17 includes a collection of miracles: not only are the Children of Israel led through the Red Sea on dry ground and the Egyptians overtaken, but the Lord miraculously provides quail, manna, and water. How could they even imagine what Moses had in mind when he told them to “Fear ye not… and see the salvation of the Lord”? It’s no wonder later generations looked to these experiences as a source of hope and faith.
Tissot’s depiction of Moses leading the Children of Israel through the Red Sea is a reminder of the effort required to constantly exercise faith. In Tissot’s interpretation, it was not enough for these prophets to raise their arms at the water’s edge and their work to be done; rather, with arms outstretched, these prophets continue to part the Red Sea. The people indicate that their faith has led them to action by carrying heavy burdens or walking barefoot through rough ground. How has your faith led you to action?
APRIL 11 – 17
Minerva Teichert (1888-1976), Touch Me Not, 1937, oil on canvas, 76 1/2 x 59 3/4 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art.
This week, we celebrate the atonement and resurrection of Jesus Christ; President Gordon B. Hinckley said that the declaration “He is risen” has “become the most profound in all literature.” Minerva Teichert’s painting depicts Mary Magdalene as she has just learned of Christ’s resurrection, and she is eager to embrace him; simultaneously, we see the relief and hope that come to her from a knowledge of a resurrected Savior. Like Mary in this moment, we may not be able to presently feel the marks in Christ’s hands, wrists, and feet but we too can gain hope and peace from a knowledge that he lives. What insights do you gain from Minerva Teichert’s depiction of Mary Magdalene and Jesus?
APRIL 18 – 24
Lambert Zutman III (1510-1567), Moses Among Roman Ruins, 1550, engraving, 7 3/4 x 3 9/16 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, 1959.
When the Moses met with the Lord on Mount Sinai, Moses was required to go “to the top of the mount,” and the Lord came down to it. In all things, the Lord is willing to meet us where we are AND he requires work on our part. In Lambert Zutman III’s depiction of Moses, the prophet has ascended to the top of a hill, but not Mount Sinai. Here, he is seen with Roman ruins behind him (which Moses predates). What we metaphorically climb to come closer to the Lord—a structure within a city, a mountain on its outskirts, a ladder, or anything else—may not matter as much, just as long as we are working to come closer to him.
Why do you think the artist chose to depict Moses among Roman ruins instead of a biblical setting?