This daily feature is an introduction to a full book review by Herman du Toit. To read the full text of this review, follow the link below.
This sumptuously produced exhibition catalog was published by the Church Historian's Press, an imprint of the Church History Department of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The book reproduces and interprets paintings that appeared in an exhibition of the same title, Saints at Devil's Gate, at the Church History Museum in Salt Lake City in November 2016. The exhibition showcased landscape paintings of sites along the Mormon Trail, the 1,300-mile route that was used from 1846 to 1868 by thousands of Mormons, many of whom were fleeing religious persecution. The artworks were created by John Burton, Josh Clare, and Bryan Mark Taylor—three talented landscape painters who themselves traversed the Mormon Trail from east to west, scouting specific locations along the trail to document in their paintings. Josh Clare successfully presented the idea for the ambitious project to the Church History Museum in September 2013. Approval was granted, and the undertaking culminated in the exhibition of fifty-two oil paintings on canvas at the Church History Museum.
Previously the Church Historian's Press has focused on more scholarly publications. However, according to Eric Smith, editorial manager of the press, this latest publication is intended for a more general audience. He noted that this book "is an opportunity to provide art with bits of history."