According To Thy Word by Elspeth Young

According To Thy Word


{ Mary, the Mother of Jesus }
Paper prints & posters
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Bookmark$1.50Original oil painting$9,536.00 Sold
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And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin...

and the virgin’s name was Mary...

And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS...

The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God...

And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.

Luke 1: 26-27, 30-31, 35, 38

The story behind According To Thy Word

This painting presents the moment at which Mary is visited by the angel Gabriel.  Her faith and humility, evident in her reply to the angel—"Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word" (Luke 1:38), shine in the clarity and brilliance of her countenance.  The light from the heavenly messenger is also mirrored in her face.

Symbolism in According To Thy Word

The angel Gabriel tells Mary that she is "highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women" (Luke 1:28).  Mary later tells Elisabeth that her "soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour" (Luke 1:46-47).  These declarations help us glimpse Mary's faithfulness and purity.  Her beauty in the painting typifies her inner purity and loveliness.  We also read from the prophet Nephi's words that Mary would be "a virgin, most beautiful and fair above all other virgins" (1 Nephi 11:15).

Her beauty, as well as the light surrounding her, are a stark contrast to the darkness of the decayed stonework by which she is surrounded.  Reminiscent of Roman architecture from 1st century AD Palestine, her surroundings represent the spiritual decay and captivity in which Israel found itself at the time of Christ's birth.  The dark and narrow surroundings also typify the spiritual darkness and the degeneration of life itself that always accompany sin.  Jesus Christ is the light and the life and truth of the world (see John 14:16 and D&C 10:70).

Also symbolic is the vase Mary cradles in arms that will one day cradle the infant Redeemer.  Mary's earthly mission was to be a vessel, to bear the Great Redeemer.  The scriptures enjoin: "Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord" (D&C 38:42).  Mary's purity and obedience made it possible for Heaven to make of her life infinitely more than she, or anyone else, could have made of it.  Had she set her heart upon the vain things of the world (see Alma 5:53) instead of attuning her soul to the things of God (see D&C 25:10), Mary and her life would have remained as empty as the empty vessel in her arms.  But because she was obedient to the word of the Lord, neither her arms nor her life were left empty.  Instead, they were filled with Heaven's gift.  Through obedience to the word and will of the Lord, she found out who she was, why she was alive here upon the earth, and what the Lord wanted her to do with her life.  So it is for every soul who hearkens to the voice of the Spirit (see D&C 84:46).  Only through obedience to the commandments of God can a person discover and fulfill the potential of a life.

Furthermore, in the painting, Mary is beautiful, well dressed, and comfortable.  She seems to have everything the world has to offer, and yet she is alone in a darkness filled only with the past.  Neither life nor all that the world has to offer is complete without Him who is the light and the life and the truth of the world.  Mary is surrounded by an eerie emptiness, yet that is appropriate because the infant of which the angel speaks is the Bread of Life, and the Living Water, which, if a person drink, they will never thirst more.

Bibliography

Corson, Richard. Fashion in Hair: The First Five Thousand Years. London: Peter Owen Limited, 1965.

David, Elizabeth. English Bread and Yeast Cookery. Kent, United Kingdom: Viking Press, 1977.

Hepper, FN. Baker Encyclopedia of Bible Plants: flowers and trees, fruits and vegetables, ecology. Leicester, England: Inter Varsity Press, 1992.

Matthews, Victor H. Manners and Customs in the Bible. Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers, 1991.

Tannahill, Reay. Food in History. New York: Crown Trade Paperbacks, 1988.

Yamaguchi, Satoko. Mary and Martha: Women in the World of Jesus. New York: Orbis Books, 2002.

© By Elspeth Young, All Rights Reserved. You may not print, copy, or reproduce this artwork or make derivative works from it without the prior written consent of the copyright holder. For permissions, please review our FAQ page.



From the Newsroom


Holiday shipping schedule

By Al R. Young
Listed below are the last days, for each type of product from the Studios and each shipping speed, to order a product and be confident of its delivery by Christmas Eve.
Domestic Shipping
Please be aware of the following policies and recommendations:
Rush-order requestsReceiving a shipment from Al Young StudiosFraming
International Shipping Delays
When ordering internationally, please add the following number of days to the above table to ensure on-time delivery.  Unfortunately, it is impossible to guarentee that any international orders will not encounter extra delays in International Customs... Read more »

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By Al R. Young
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By Al R. Young Women of the New Testament by Camille Fronk Olson is the companion volume to Women of the Old Testament, published by Deseret Book in 2009.

The New Testament volume features fifty six illustrations from the Artists of Al Young Studios, listed here under the Studios' fine art collections and portfolios to which they belong.


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By Al R. Young This blank-book journal sells for $32 (plus shipping) direct from Al Young Studios.  Printed in full color on heavy paper, the book is bound with black plastic spiral to rest flat when open.

At Home: A Personal Journal  features 128 original artworks consisting of 51 original oil paintings from the Artists of Al Young Studios, 44 images from the Studios' Limited Editions Collection, nine pen and ink drawings and block prints by Ashton, seven of Al's exquisitely crafted pencil drawings, and one lithograph from his private portfolios... Read more »

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Edition of Inspirations now available as spiral-bound art diary

By Al R. Young This blank-book journal sells for $32 (plus shipping) direct from Al Young Studios.  Printed in full color on heavy paper, the book is bound with black plastic spiral to rest flat when open.

Inspirations features 163 artworks along with 53 commentaries—written by the Artists of Al Young Studios especially for this journal—on such topics as their creative process, the creative environment of the Studios, technical approaches to their artwork, and inspiration from the works of other artists... Read more »

Tags: Untitled, In the Clearing, Anne Girl, Spring Rain, Journey's End, Enchanted Stillness, Bedtime Story, In The High Valley, Mountain Home, And I Will Not Deny The Christ, Sara Crewe, And My Soul Hungered, 3.00.0246.010, The Road To Melek, We...


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By Al R. Young December 7th, Al, Ashton, and Elspeth lectured at the Museum of Church History and Art, providing docents with a behind-the-scenes discussion of pieces currently on display in the Christmas exhibit. While they were there, they snapped some pictures of the exhibit in the center gallery.... Read more »

Tags: At The Going Down Of The Sun, Unto The City Of David, According To Thy Word, 2010, Exhibits, News


According To Thy Word by Elspeth Young appears in Liahona magazine

By Al R. Young According To Thy Word, by Elspeth Young, was featured in an article entitled Fear Not in the December 2010 issue of the Liahona magazine, published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The painting is part of Al Young Studios' Women of the Bible Fine Art Collection.... Read more »

Tags: According To Thy Word, 3rd-party Publications, 2010, News


According To Thy Word by Elspeth Young featured in Ensign Magazine

By Al R. Young According To Thy Word, by Elspeth Young, was featured in an article entitled Fear Not in the December 2010 issue of the Ensign Magazine, published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  The painting is part of Al Young Studios' Women of the Bible Fine Art Collection.... Read more »

Tags: According To Thy Word, 3rd-party Publications, 2010, News


Exhibits: Christmas exhibit opens at Museum of Church History and Art

By Al R. Young The annual Christmas exhibit at the Museum of Church History and Art in Salt Lake City includes three paintings by artists at Al Young Studios.

The exhibit, in the Museum's main gallery, is now open to the public (free of charge) and runs through February 2011. Museum hours--Monday through Friday--are 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. Visit this page of the Museum's web site for its holiday schedule. For information about location and parking, visit this page... Read more »

Tags: At The Going Down Of The Sun, Unto The City Of David, According To Thy Word, 2010, Exhibits, News


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Commentaries (in the calendar) accompanying each painting provide a reference passage from the Bible, a summary of the character featured in the painting, and an artist's commentary concerning the painting itself... Read more »

Tags: I Shall Be Whole, One By One, The Windows Of Heaven, Living Water, The Substance Of Hope, Forsaking All, Blessed Is She That Believed, As It Began To Dawn, According To Thy Word, She Worketh Willingly With Her Hands, And Martha Served, She...


According To Thy Word by Elspeth Young featured in book about Mary and Elisabeth

By Al R. Young Mary and Elisabeth: Noble Daughters of God, published by Covenant Communications, featured According To Thy Word, by Elspeth Young.  The painting is part of Al Young Studios' Women of the Bible Fine Art Collection.... Read more »

Tags: According To Thy Word, 3rd-party Publications, 2010, News