Center for Latter-day Saint Arts
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Come, Follow Me (Art Companion)

To assist people of all ages in their study of the scriptures, the Center for Latter-day Saint Arts has prepared a weekly tool to go with each lesson from the Come, Follow Me manual using fine art and objects created by members of the Church, commentary, and questions to spark discussion.

April 15-21 - "O Grave, Where Is Thy Victory?"

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Brian Kershisnik (American, born 1962)

Descent from the Cross (2012)

oil on canvas, 88 X 113 inches

Collection of the artist

Used with permission of the artist

Artist’s website

A picture is worth a thousand words, but even that’s an understatement. Art has its own vocabulary that transcends speech, and particularly with complex emotions, it communicates with us directly and profoundly. The glory of the Savior's resurrection and the unfathomable pain of His suffering go hand in hand. We believe in the gospel of good news, but are we shortchanging our comprehension of the scriptures by underplaying Jesus's sacrifice?

In the painting, Descent from the Cross, Latter-day Saint artist Brian Kershisnik reimagined a traditional depiction of the Passion with the interplay of beings on both sides of the veil. We asked the artist how his own life experiences aided him in creating this work. He said, “In the midst of my difficulties, I’ve asked myself, ‘How can there be a happy day again?’" Then he added, "To be a disciple of Jesus is to obligate yourself to hope beyond hope.” A testimony of the resurrection focuses us on the eternal, but in the middle of a crisis, it is easy to lose sight of the bigger picture. As Kershinik said, regarding Descent from the Cross as he painted it, "I kept saying to the figures in the painting, 'It’s going to be all right.'"

  1. "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning" (Psalm 30:5). How does hope bolstered by faith help move us through sorrow and pain?

  2. In Descent from the Cross, Brian Kershisnik includes personages from the spirit world witnessing the event, which by extension, means you. How does that concept alter your response to the crucifixion and resurrection?  

  3. In the events leading to His crucifixion, Jesus was betrayed, spat upon, mocked, wrongfully accused, and abandoned by His friends. How do these events help you to know that Jesus can succor you?

  4. Art creation: draw a picture that shows how you feel when you see someone being mistreated by others.  How can the way you feel help you to support the one being mistreated?  (Luke 23:41 - "for this man hath done nothing amiss.")

Tell us what you think. How do you like the Come, Follow Me (Art Companion)?