Special Feature

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Visualizing the Vision: The History and Future of First Vision Art

Today we are featuring, "Visualizing the Vision: The History and Future of First Vision Art," by Anthony Sweat from Journal 59:2. Below is the abstract; follow the link below for the full article. 

Joseph Smith’s First Vision has been represented in paintings from C. C. A. Christensen’s The Vision (ca. 1878) to modern works such as J. Kirk Richards’s The First Vision (2020). Early art varied in how the vision was represented, but by the 1970s there was a standard of portraying Joseph Smith, wearing a white shirt and brown pants, kneeling with an arm blocking the white light emanating from two divine figures, in a summer forest setting. Newer artwork reflects expanded information about the vision, including the presence of angels. The author includes his own painting, The First Visions, which aims to reflect Joseph Smith’s various accounts. This article includes thirty-eight images surveying First Vision art by Latter-day Saint artists and concludes that artistic interpretation will continue to shift as the Church’s historical narrative and doctrinal emphasis shift over time.