Hofmann painted this 1894 painting of Jesus Christ with the intent to hang it in his bedroom. At night, Hofmann would look into the eyes of the painted Jesus and ask himself if he had kept the Lord’s commandments that day.
His friends persuaded him to put it in his studio so others could also see it. Every Sunday, the artist opened his studio to the public to come and view the painting of Christ.
“Not only did Hofmann have this response to that painting,” Pheysey said, “but so did President Monson.”
President Thomas S. Monson, president of the LDS Church, has kept a copy of this particular painting of the Savior in his office since he was first called to be a bishop in his 20s.
In a 2010 interview with the Museum, President Monson said that when he has a concern or a problem, he looks at the painting and asks what the Savior would have him do.
‘Christ and the Rich Young Ruler’
This painting, done by Hofmann in 1888, was a favorite of the artist’s wife. After her death, Hofmann elected not to sell the painting but rather to keep it in his studio.
“Hofmann had a very generous heart,” Pheysey said. “He was always thinking of the poor. In his studio, there was a donation box with a handwritten note that read, ‘For the orphans of Dresden.’ ”
‘Agony in the Garden’
While BYU has offered to provide a replacement painting for all the art it is borrowing during the exhibit, the priest for Norresundby Church in Norresundby, Denmark, opted to leave the wall empty.
The priest — who agreed to let BYU borrow Frans Schwartz’s portrayal of Christ being comforted by an angel in the Garden of Gethsemane, titled “Agony in the Garden” — said the empty wall serves as a reminder that the angel in the painting has a responsibility elsewhere, and when the exhibit is finished, she will fly back to his congregation.
Emmilie Buchanan-Whitlock is an intern for the Deseret News with Mormon Times. She recently graduated from Brigham Young University-Idaho. Contact her by email: firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter: emmiliewhitlock
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