I took up the Ensign last week to do my hometeaching. Leafing through it, I spotted a First Vision art show.
I have high hopes for these Ensign art shows, though they do not always succeed. This one does, I think. It shows different cultures and different viewpoints joining in testimony of the same event. To see it, click here and select “the First Vision: Searching for the Truth.”
Most of the artists view the First Vision as an intimate event, a human event. They give us an up close view of Joseph Smith or else they draw our attention to the humanity of the whole event. A painting by Leon Parson, for example, shows Joseph Smith kicked back and chatting with the Father and the Son, who are about a foot off the ground and in no rush. A doe is looking in. That’s a pretty typical view of the First Vision. It is common among the Saints and, I think, it is valuable. It shows the Father and the Son as beings who are like us. It narrows the distance.
But if we forget the great distance that is naturally between us and God, we don’t see how miraculous it is they stepped across it to speak to a farmboy. That’s why my favorite piece would have to be the cast bronze by Kraig Varner (ignore the base). It shows the Father and the Son atop a great and soaring pillar. Joseph Smith reels at the base.