A few weeks ago, we went to New York for a few days with some dear friends. While there, we visited MOBIA, the Museum of Biblical Art, which is housed in the American Bible Society building. MOBIA’s mission (www.mobia.org) is to foster understanding and appreciation of art inspired by the Bible and its legacy through the centuries by highlighting the connection between art and religion in the Jewish and Christian traditions.
The exhibition that drew us was “The Art of Forgiveness: Images of the Prodigal Son.” Here’s the description: “The biblical story from Luke 15 of the loving father who forgives his wayward son unconditionally has inspired artists through the centuries. MOBIA is proud to organize and present an exhibition dedicated to this theme, featuring works from the Renaissance to the present day. More than 70 prints, sculptures, and paintings by artists including Rembrandt, Pietro Testa, James Tissot, and Mourice Langaskens will provide a wide-ranging overview of the impact this theme has had on the history of art.”
Indeed it is a wide-ranging overview. My favorites included contemporary artist Mary McCleary’s large mixed-media which depicted the feast as a Texas barbecue, complete with boots and hats. The work was surprising and stunning in its detail. I also liked Johannes Nilsson’s seven scenes painted on linen, dating from 1750. One that haunts me still was Thomas Hart Benton’s lithograph showing the son coming home to an empty, ramshackle house. It’s too late for a reconciliation with his father. To see a slideshow of selected works, click http://www.mobia.org/exhibitions/.
Most of the works in the Art of Forgiveness are from the collection of Jerry Evenrud, a retired church musician who has an avocational passion for visual arts. I hope to be able to feature him on the blog someday soon.
On Monday, I’m featuring a publisher of art books. You won’t want to miss it! Also, in a few weeks, I’ll be unveiling a new look for the blog as well as my new website. More details to follow.