Scripture Power

Famed LDS artist Arnold Friberg passed away last week at the age of 96. His name might not have the same cachet as the prophets and apostles, but his Book of Mormon illustrations are instantly recognizable to all members of the faith. I have always been a very visual, artistic person, and when I was younger these paintings really helped the scripture stories come alive. Every corner of his compositions are so rich with detail, I could pour over them for hours. Here are a few of my personal favorites:

"Lehi and His People Arrive in the Promised Land"

Starting with Nephi, the scripture heroes were always incredibly ripped (even little Sam looks like he has started working out). Friberg explained this largeness of stature as "an expression of the spirit within." Nephi's descendants from later paintings also share very similar facial features, which I have
affectionately come to characterize as "the Nephite Face."

"Abinadi Appearing Before King Noah"

The prophet Abinadi also had impressive muscle tone for an old man, though I always wondered what the story was with his farmer tan. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out which of the priests in the background was Alma (and wishing I had a pet jaguar).

"Samuel the Lamanite Prophesies"

I'm pretty sure I wasn't the only Mormon kid to draw an invisible line with my finger predicting the trajectory of the arrows being fired at Samuel the Lamanite to see how close they might get.

"Mormon Bids Farewell to a Once Great Nation"

This painting has always been my personal favorite for the sheer scope and tragedy it conveys (not to mention Moroni's totally awesome horns). The color scheme makes me think of Legolas in
The Two Towers, "A red sun rises... blood has been spilled this night."


Christie said...

Have you been down to the conference center to see the originals? They are (or at least they were at Christmas time) on display together-- its definitely worth seeing.

Dave said...

I may have seen that display while wandering around with Eddie during a regional conference, but I can't remember for sure. (It was a particularly rough meeting.)