Mormons all know Carl Bloch's work, even if they don't know they know it. His work is used all over, and is in all sorts of manuals and picture collections. So, I was planning on enjoying the BYU exhibit. I didn't expect the WOW factor.
As you walk in, the first painting you see is the Doubting Thomas. I literally stopped in my tracks. There's something about actually seeing a painting that just isn't communicated in lovely 3x5 prints. It's larger than life, and Bloch did something to make the background receded and the figures really stand out.
Then, just around to the right is my favorite picture of the exhibition: The Daughter of Jarius. The notes next to the painting (which someone was calling a photograph, which is kind of the point--it's not one) said most paintings of this story show Jesus after he has raised the daughter from the dead. This one has the mother sitting next to her dead daughter and Jesus in the door, as yet unseen and unacknowledged. I've noticed many of the really great artists tend to portray the moment before, like Michelangelo's David. He holds his sling, waiting, but has not yet killed Goliath. Whatever it was, this painting kept me coming back several times.
Sasha was a little fussy and a lot heavy, and Sabrina was giggling and running in circles around chairs, set up for quiet contemplation of the pictures. But Aunt Kathleen, who Sabrina dubbed "other grandma," watched the kids for a few minutes at the end, and I wasn't even sorry they were there. Amazing show.