Carl Heinrich Bloch’s thoughtful depictions of the Savior have had profound influence on the lives of Christians all over the world. Bloch’s portrayals of Christ possess a unique and timeless quality. They pull viewers into their story by engaging directly with the moral conflict and humanizing their characters’ struggles. They affirm Christ’s mission of salvation and challenge the viewer to contemplate what it means to have living faith, a principle the artist lived his life by.
Bloch was born in Denmark in 1834. He was born and raised Lutheran and practiced their faith for the duration of his life. After discovering and pursuing a passion for art in his youth, Bloch attended the prestigious Royal Danish Academy of Art in Copenhagen. Though a faithful Christian, it was not until later in his career that he began painting the Savior. Because of his acclaimed work, Bloch was later commissioned to paint twenty-three depictions of the Savior’s life in the Frederiksborg Castle. Later he was commissioned by various congregations in Denmark and Sweden to create religious altarpieces.
While respected by many Christian faiths, Bloch’s work has come to be particularly meaningful to Latter-day Saints. Though during his life Bloch was considered a master at his craft, he was largely forgotten after his death and the rise of the Impressionist movement. Half a century later and half a world away, LDS people in the Salt Lake Valley discovered and developed a love for his artwork. From then on, it has been used to beautify many Church publications, LDS meetinghouses and temples throughout the world.
Biographical information courtesy of http://carlbloch.byu.edu/artist.php