Nativity scenes depicted by LDS artists

Published: Thursday, Dec. 20 2012 5:00 a.m. MST

"For God So Loved the World" is a piece of art by Simon Dewey.

Matt Crossley, Altus Fine Art

While the holiday season is a busy time of year, it can also be a good time to slow down and reflect on the true meaning of Christmas.

The birth of the Savior Jesus Christ took place more than 2,000 years ago and is the most significant event in the history of mankind. Although it is easy to get caught up in the shopping, baking, decorating and many other Christmas activities, focusing attention on Christ is a priority for many people.

One way to focus on the Savior this season is through art. Numerous Latter-day Saint artists have depicted his birth by painting scenes of the Nativity.

"For God So Loved the World" by Simon Dewey

This painting was created in 2002 using acrylic paint on canvas. Simon Dewey wanted to make the piece appealing to children, so he included animals that might have been found at the manger.

According to Altus Fine Art's website, Dewey used the same model he uses for Christ to paint Joseph.

"By having the model of Joseph represent the father of baby Jesus, I felt that I was able to capture the concern and hope that Joseph must have felt in the manger," Dewey said.

"Love's Pure Light" by Annie Henrie

This past November, independent fine art professional Annie Henrie painted "Love's Pure Light," capturing the beauty of Mary holding baby Jesus with angels watching over them. She used mixed medias such as acrylic and oil paint, charcoal pencil and gold leaf to create her piece.

Henrie mentioned she has done many paintings revolving around this topic.

"I have done several variations on that theme, mostly because I think it is one of the sweetest moments of awe and love, initially for the love of the Savior, and also that sweet pure love of a mother and her new baby," Henrie said.

Symbolism in this painting, as well as in Henrie's other pieces, can be found dealing with the angels and halos over Mary and baby Jesus' heads.

"Usually with these paintings I have angels watching over, reflecting the angels described in the scriptures and also those angels that are the people in our lives who save us at crucial moments. I also usually have Mary and baby Jesus with indications of halos symbolizing the holiness of the moment," said Henrie.

Henrie wants her artwork to inspire others.

"I hope that these depictions will help remind others to notice and cherish the small sacred moments of love and tenderness in their lives. I also hope that we may grow in our love and awe towards the Savior, and to notice the angels that are among us," Henrie said.

"Nativity" by Brian Kershisnik

A concourse of angels attend the newborn baby Jesus in this unique piece by contemporary figurative artist Brian Kershisnik. It was completed in 2006 with the use of oil paints and stamps cut out of different patterns on canvas.

Kershisnik has done many paintings with angels in the corners, but wanted angels to be the main focus in this painting. The message of the angles is a powerful one. Kershisnik described this message at the Church History Museum during a Christmas open house in December 2011.

"In my imagination, I picture Jesus being born and everyone wanting to see. Eventually it is crowded because everyone is eager to see him," Kershisnik said. "Once the angels have seen him, I'm sure they were anxious to tell the shepherds and the rest of the world the news of the Savior's birth."

The birth of Jesus Christ is something Kershisnik is certain we were all anticipating as angels.

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