In order to make the dream of showing 20 19th-century paintings in Provo a reality, BYU Museum of Art curators had to rely heavily on the gifts of other museums and churches.
"We began going over to Denmark every year and building relationships with people there in the churches," Pheysey said.
That friendship paved the way for what Pheysey called some presumptuous requests four altar paintings, the centerpieces of many churches, and eight paintings from the Frederiksborg Castle in Denmark.
These requests can be deeply felt by the congregations of the churches, as it means their main altarpieces are then removed from their regular worship, Pheysey said.
"And so we ask, and it sinks in for a minute and we tell them about the 306,000 people who came to the last show and how they lined up, and how there were throngs dying to see these works," Magleby said. "And they think, 'We love these works,' but then their altruistic feelings take over and they say, 'We'd like to share them with all of those people.
Ten locations offered their paintings for BYU's exhibit, including the Frederiksborg Castle in Denmark, which will loan eight paintings four at a time from the King's Oratory from Bloch's Life of Christ series.
"These paintings have never before been out of the Oratory since they were installed (in the 1860s and 1870s) and they will not be loaned again," castle director Mette Skougaard said in a press release.
Four paintings from Bloch's greatest commissioned work will be on display for the first half of the exhibit, and will then be switched out with four different Life of Christ paintings for the second half. Pheysey encourages patrons to come multiple times to see all the paintings offered during the exhibit.
"We have a tremendous gift because we are totally funded by philanthropies, by donors," Magleby said.
Because of the generosity of museum donors, "Sacred Gifts" will be open to the public for free. All patrons can reserve their free tickets online before attending the event.
The cost of an event like this makes the generous donations all the more appreciated, Magleby said.
One altarpiece alone, taking into consideration the cost of conservation, shipping and insurance, could likely surpass $100,000, Magleby said. "Sacred Gifts" will feature six altar paintings.
Though the event is free, museum officials hope that those who are inspired by the exhibit will donate an amount they feel is appropriate.
"We are grateful for our donors, but we would like to create a way for our patrons to give back to the people, the churches and the museums that have made all of this possible," Pheysey said.
Donations can be made at the exhibit and online at the BYU Museum of Art's website.
But the crowning gift, Pheysey said, is the ultimate gift of the Savior, Jesus Christ, to whom all the paintings pay tribute.
"The ultimate gift is, of course, centered in the notion that Christ is the source of all creation and all creativity and that he paid the ultimate price for our salvation," Magleby said.
All three of these artists were devoutly religious men who felt a strong connection with their Savior, Magleby said.
"These artists in their own way and in their own time from their own faith point of view also felt that (ultimate gift)," he said. "You cannot look at these works without a sense of (the artists) knowing of whom they represent. It is a great privilege to be reminded in the midst of all this gifting of the superlative gift of the Savior," he said.
"Sacred Gifts: The Religious Art of Carl Bloch, Heinrich Hofmann, and Frans Schwartz" opens Nov. 15 and will run through May 10, 2014.
Emmilie Buchanan-Whitlock is a writer for the Deseret News with Mormon Times. She recently graduated from Brigham Young University-Idaho. Contact her by email: email@example.com or on Twitter: emmiliewhitlock
- LDS couple with triplets expecting twins:...
- Royals Pitcher Jeremy Guthrie expresses...
- Partially paralyzed LDS runner completes...
- 'Meet the Mormons' an example of church...
- New Harmony: Church questions? I have a dozen
- Mormons in the rodeo: LDS competitors find...
- Polygamy essays provide information about...
- Southern Baptists tell pastors: hold line on...
- Polygamy essays provide information... 69
- Pope Francis: ‘Evolution ... 62
- Pastor who performed gay marriage keeps... 29
- Southern Baptists tell pastors: hold... 25
- Carmen Rasmusen Herbert: Using faith... 19
- New Harmony: Church questions? I have a... 17
- Churches proceed carefully when... 16
- 'Meet the Mormons' an example of church... 7