“Exhibit Offers Many Views of Joseph Smith,” Ensign, Aug. 1985, 76–77
Through the years, many artists have depicted the Prophet Joseph Smith in media ranging from oil portraits to inlaid wood, from bronze to batik. Their efforts represent the only visual images of the Prophet available, since no known photograph of him exists.
Many of these depictions are on display now at the Museum of Church History and Art in an exhibit entitled, “Images of Joseph Smith: Artists’ Depictions, 1842–1984.”
On display are approximately one hundred items—portraits, sculpture, lithographs, and drawings, as well as art from many different cultural traditions. The latter include depictions of the First Vision in traditional molas—appliqued and embroidered by Central American Indians—and in batik produced by an Indonesian Latter-day Saint; an inlaid wood portrait from Brazil; and carefully crafted dolls of Joseph and Emma Smith.
Among the images on display are portraits by Lewis Ramsey and Alvin Gittins; sculpture by Mahonri Young, Avard Fairbanks, and Dee Jay Bawden; and drawings by English-born textile designer Sutcliffe Maudsley. A section on modern depictions of Joseph Smith reflects renewed interest in what he looked like, exhibit curator Linda Gibbs said.
“Images of Joseph Smith” will be on display through 5 May 1986.
The museum, immediately west of Temple Square in Salt Lake City, is currently open from 9 A.M. to 9 P.M. weekdays and from 10 A.M. to 7 P.M. on Saturdays, Sundays, and holidays.