The Nauvoo Temple
C. C. A. Christensen, 1865
The temple was the most significant religious edifice in Nauvoo and represented the culmination of Joseph Smith’s work. Situated on a hilltop, it was visible from twenty miles away. Dedications took place by room. This facilitated important religious ordinances. However, before the temple was completely finished, most of the Nauvoo people were forced to leave the city. One week following the dedication, the temple closed. The sky is a painted metaphor of the plight of the early Saints. A patch of bright blue appearing through the clouds suggests the brief but glorious period when the temple fulfilled its purpose. The resumed persecution that eventually drove the Saints from Nauvoo is symbolized by the encroachment of the dark sky upon the white clouds. (“C.C.A. Christensen Mormon Panorama” Exhibition, 8/27/94 – 9/1/95.)
What’s Going On?
The image shows a large white church-style structure with an octagonal shaped steeple. A seraph tops the steeple. There are additional structures in the background.
More About C.C.A. Christensen
Originally from Denmark, Carl Christian Anton Christensen studied painting at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. Following his conversion to Mormonism in 1850, Christensen made the trek to the Utah Territory.
Besides depicting scenes from the Bible and The Book of Mormon, Christensen shows scenes of early Utah Pioneers. For example, he created an epic 175-foot long panorama, depicting the history of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and paraded it in conjunction with lectures on the Mormon Trek throughout Utah, Idaho and Wyoming.
Christensen also worked as a part-time farmer as well as an instructor of drawing at what is known today as Snow College in Ephraim, Utah.
View the highlights of Christensen’s work.