Carl Heinrich Bloch’s Angels

LDS Church leaders admire the work of 19th-century Danish artist, Carl Heinrich Bloch.  His depictions of Christ are ubiquitous throughout Mormon culture.

Personally, I’m not a fan of Bloch’s work; in the artist’s depictions, Christ looks like a Scandanavian.  And for some reason, I picture him as being more Mediterranean.  Hell, maybe He was even black, God forbid.  Another concern is his hair.  One blogger refers to it as the “Panteen Pro-V” Jesus.  I seriously doubt that Christ, the rebel that He was, spent much time on his hair.

The latest flap doesn’t concern Bloch’s original work, it is the censorship of his depiction of angels.  In the December 2011 Ensign, someone has deleted the wings on Bloch’s female angels and added cap sleeves on their shoulders.

Original Bloch and Censured Block Side-by-Side

According to Heather in dovesandserpents:

I feel like someone has hijacked my religious train car and steered it right off the rails.  We’re so concerned with modesty that we have now taken to modifying a beautiful piece of artwork before publishing it in our official church magazine so that it reflects our hyper-vigilance with regard to modesty?

On top of that, she wondered why the censor hadn’t covered up Christ’s nipple?  The off-the-shoulder garment doesn’t seem very proper either.

The sort of tinkering with art that is exemplified by the Ensign is silly, extremely naive, and counterproductive.  But it does give me something to complain about.

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This entry was posted in Art, images of Christ, mormonism, Religion. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Carl Heinrich Bloch’s Angels

  1. Lincoln Cannon says:

    I share your negative assessment of this, Roger. Imagine the destruction that would take place if the persons responsible for the Ensign became responsible for a museum like the Louvre?

    • rogerdhansen says:

      I wish I was a better artist. It might be fun to take some of the world’s great art and bring it up to “LDS standards.” For example, I could put clothes (and arms) on the Venus de Milo.

  2. Jesse says:

    Does anyone happen to know if the artist who clipped the wings, did it atop a Rameumptom?

    • rogerdhansen says:

      I love writing this blog because I learn so much. Today, I learned (or re-learned) what a Rameumptom is. According to wikipedia: “According to the Bood of Mormon, a Rameumptom is a high tower or stand from which the apostate Zoramites gave a pre-determined, vain prayer. The practice of preaching from a Rameumptom was viewed by several Book of Mormon characters (including Alma the Younger and his companions) as sinful.” Based on this passage in the Book of Mormon, ther term “Rameumptom” has come to have a metaphoric meaning in Mormon culture, signifying self aggrandizement or ubris. The wikipedia article references a 1989 Dialogue letter by Robert Nelson Jr. that I will reprint on this website some day.

  3. Pingback: Bloch’s Angel Wings Are Back! But is it for Good? | Tired Road Warrior

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