the mARTyrdom of joseph smith

June 27, 1844 marked the martyrdom of Joseph Smith. Artist Andrew Knaupp’s depictions of this event are my favorite, though you won’t see them in official church publications. For instance, here’s one of Joseph firing his weapon:

Andrew also includes youtube video commentary of his pieces:


I’ve written elsewhere about complaints regarding the historical accuracy of church art. I appreciate Knaupp’s attention to detail, and his somewhat unique style. I also thought Seth Adam Smith did a nice job on the video about this paintings, so I highlight it here. See Ardis’s careful response to another of Smith’s videos here.

See Knaupp’s entire painting series on the martyrdom here. In case you’re wondering, this one’s my favorite:

Praise to the man!

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  • JJ Rousseau

    Thanks for the reminder. I am not quite sure what to make of the commentaries. Trying to read into the minds of historical figure…is a tricky business. I do like the pictures.

  • BHodges

    Agreed, Rousseau, I was just glad to see the gun included in a homiletic video. The art stands alone, apart from the video commentary as far as I’m concerned. I liked the video’s juxtaposition of the death mask.

  • BHodges

    JJ: tell me more about what you think of the paintings yo.

  • JJ Rousseau

    I think they depict the humanity of the situation. The narrative seems to support this as well. It is one of those events that speaks to human brutality. I feel that in the paintings.

  • Tod Robbins


    I dig these, yo. Amen.

  • john f.

    I’m still waiting for a good one featuring brandy and a pistol. But this one is pretty good.

  • CJ Douglass

    Love the work – just one quibble. Why do artists continue to give Joseph the forward hair swoop? Even after sleeping on the floor of a jail? You would think the lack of a credible photo would give artists more imagination when it comes to depicting Joseph (not less).

  • Pagi

    Different strokes for different folks.