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Study of "The Prophet Abinadi"
TitleStudy of "The Prophet Abinadi"
Publication TypeArtwork
Year of PublicationNot Available
AuthorsFriberg, Arnold
KeywordsAbinadi; King Noah; Martyr; Prophet
Abstract

Charcoal on Paper

9 1⁄4 x 11 3⁄4 in.

Mosiah, Chapter 17

This immediately recognizable scene shows the prophet Abinadi as he was burned at the stake by the wicked King Noah. Fittingly, Friberg used charcoal for the study, using broad and wild strokes that mimic the flickering of flames. That it was never realized as part of the original twelve Book of Mormon paintings is probably due to the fact that they were destined for a children’s magazine. Instead, Friberg chose another moment from the prophet’s life. Yet it is the burning of Abinadi that sealed the fate of King Noah, who was also burned, and led to severe consequences for Noah’s people, as recorded in the book of Alma, chapter 25:

And now Abinadi was the first that suffered death by fire because of his belief in God; now this is what he meant, that many should suffer death by fire, according as he had suffered.

And he said unto the priests of Noah that their seed should cause many to be put to death, in the like manner as he was, and that they should be scattered abroad and slain, even as a sheep having no shepherd is driven and slain by wild beasts; and now behold, these words were verified, for they were driven by the Lamanites, and they were hunted, and they were smitten.

There are several figures discernible in Friberg’s work: Abinadi at the stake, a man standing behind to secure the prophet’s hands, another placing fuel for the fire, and, at the far right, someone holding a torch that will be used to light the flames. Using classical rule of composition, Friberg makes Abinadi, the central figure, the brightest. Despite impending danger, Friberg shows Abinadi standing calmly without resistance.

Scripture Reference

Mosiah 17:12-20
Alma 25:11-12

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