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.

August 19-25 - "Be Perfectly Joined Together"

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Madeline Rupard (American, born 1991)

The Awakening of the Child from a Dream State (2019)

acrylic on canvas, 30 x 30 inches

Private collection

Used with permission of the artist

Artist’s website

A recurring theme among the early Christians was unity, perfection, and cohesion. President Henry B. Eyring spoke of knitting our hearts as one when he said, “[God] cannot grant “[unity] to us as individuals. The joy of unity He wants so much to give us is not solitary. We must seek it and qualify for it with others.” (“Our Hearts Knit as One”, 2008).

Artists, too, seek formal unity in their work by bringing multiple elements together in harmony. A composition is balanced using principles of design through the arrangement of elements within a work to be cohesive, unified, and ordered. Viewers might be only vaguely aware of structural composition when they look at art, although they likely respond to principles of composition without knowing it. Madeline Rupard’s painting, The Awakening of the Child from a Dream State, is a scene on the steps of the Metropolitan Museum in New York. In a way, it depicts an everyday occurrence: moms, dogs, strollers, and tourists. The painting itself, however, is structurally complex. Regarding composition, the artist writes, “The line of the evening shadow describes the volume of space as it traces itself from background to foreground. Down the wall, across the steps, and finally over the cement ground, the partition almost seems to sense the presence of our protagonists—the mother, child, and spaniel—and supernaturally curves around them. I witnessed this scene for just seconds, but painting it felt like a way to distill and examine the ethereal quality that light can bring to an ordinary scene. What I like about a division like this in a painting is that although it may create the feeling of 3D depth, it is still just a 2D line.”

  1. Why is unity and coordination among others necessary to move forward the work of God? How do we reconcile the necessity for unity with others with the principle that we are each saved as individuals?

  2. Examine your routine interactions with others during a typical week. What can you do to bring a feeling of greater unity in your relationships with others during these routine interactions?

  3. Art project: sit in a circle with those in your family or group. Give each person a piece of paper and a pencil. Set a timer and have each person draw something on the paper for 30 seconds. Then pass each paper to the next person in the group to add to the drawing for another 30 seconds. Continue to pass the papers in 30 second intervals with each person adding to each drawing. Once each drawing has moved through the group, display the collection to see how the interaction and contribution of each worked together toward the final piece. What can you learn about unity from this exercise?

Give us your impressions. How are you using the Come, Follow Me (Art Companion)?