Sunday, August 1, 2010

Sad News

The world of spiritual art suffered a great loss this last month. I recently was informed of the death of Arnold Friberg, a truly great artist and a truly great man. Extraordinarily talented, he studied at the prestigious Chicago Academy of Fine Arts and then at the Grand Central School of art in New York City, working alongside fellow student Norman Rockwell. He was commissioned to paint such subjects as the Prince of Wales, and later, Queen Elizabeth the II whom he painted inside Buckingham Palace (see article below). But despite these distinctions and worldly accolades, the work for which he will be most remembered and loved was of a far different nature. Arnold Friberg's gift came from God, and he used it to paint the things of God. He was commissioned by Cecil Demille to do a series of paintings based on the story of Moses to help previsualise the classic film "The 10 Commandments". Starting in the 1950s, Friberg was commissioned by the Primary Children's program of the LDS church to do a series of paintings intended to bring Book of Mormon stories to life. And he did just that- no one before or since has imbued the stories of the Book of Mormon with such vitality as he did. His images are iconic- Lehi and his family journeying to the promised land, Abinadi standing in shackles before King Noah, the Savior Descending to visit the Nephite Nation, and my personal favorite, Samuel the Lamanite atop a great wall, prophesying the savior's birth amidst a hail of arrows. It was this last painting that helped inspire my first Visual Effects project, a short film based on the story of Samuel the Lamanite. I never knew Friberg personally, though I did shake his hand once. I only really knew him the same way he is known by millions of children and adults the world over- through his beautiful gospel art. His scriptural paintings have inspired and aided the imaginations of millions for over half a century, and it is my hope they will continue to do so in the future. Let us all say a special prayer of thanks to God for sending us such a person.

Arnold Friberg's Website
Arnold Friberg Article on Wikipedia

On that note . . . gosh, after talking about a master like that I feel almost embarrassed to post any of my art. But I made a promise, and I know Arnold Friberg would want all of us to continue in using art to share the gospel. So here goes:

This was a bit of a sparse Sunday, I spent most of it on one drawing, but I feel I learned from it. It's a rough concept sketch, but once again this is the Savior descending from the sky to meet the people at Bountiful.  The smoke rising from the door towards the savior represents sacrifice in the old testament, and how it pointed towards Christ. I've been studying lots of pictures of old buildings and cities, and I'm starting to learn a bit about architecture. Long ways to go, though. One thing I really admire about Arnold Friberg is how thorough he was in his research. He actually spent time on-location at Valley forge, studying the landscape and Revolutionary soldier equipment in preparation to paint his famous "Prayer at Valley Forge", which is now on display in George Washington's own estate at Mount Vernon. I try to do the same thing as much as I can, though I'm too broke to fly to Peru or Guatemala to study as yet. Instead, I let google do the walking and keep files of pictures, I visit museums, and spend lots of time at the public library.

Anyway, that's this week, hope you all enjoyed and that you will read up on Arnold Friberg and look at some of his paintings. May we all follow his example and use our talents to spread the good news of Jesus Christ


  1. :O
    I didn't know he passed away either!
    Josh, this is such a great tribute,
    you're so great at this
    And your art, I can tell you're improving a lot still! it looks good! You're really getting the hang of background stuff
    and I really like its composition

  2. p.s. and I bet Arnold Friberg is doing amazing on the other side of the veil too, inspiring lots of spirits, I'm excited to meet him when I die! :D