This painting illustrates a story from the Savior’s life. Jesus’ followers brought their children to see Him, and “his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God. Verily I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter therein. And he took them up in his arms, put his hands upon them, and blessed them.”1
In this painting, Bloch depicts the Savior’s disciples holding the young children back to prevent them from bothering Jesus. James E. Talmage suggests that the disciples’ viewpoint was influenced by their society, which believed that women and children occupied an inferior position in society.2 The children who have come to see Jesus have trustful, peaceful expressions on their face, and the Savior holds the hand of one child while His arm is around another. Other onlookers gather to see what the Savior will do.
“Above the Savior’s head is a richly woven fabric with long tassels. From the fifteenth century on, this “cloth of honor” appeared in artistic representations of important and powerful figures. It was most often hung in a long panel behind the person to represent his nobility or high rank. In this image, the cloth has been lifted up, perhaps as a sign of Christ’s openness as well as His nobility.”3
Further reading: “The Life of Christ Painted by Carl Heinrich Bloch”
- Mark 10: 13-16
- James A. Talmage, Jesus the Christ: A Study of the Messiah and His Mission according to Holy Scriptures both Ancient and Modern (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1962) 476
- Dawn C. Pheysey and Richard Neitzel Holzapfel, The Master’s Hand: the Art of Carl Heinrich Bloch (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2010) 85