Sunday, April 25, 2021

Psalm 98: Cantate Domino

The psalm (in Latin) begins Cantate Domino. In English, that's Sing to the Lord. (Psalm 98:1) That's also the title of Barbara Hepworth's 1958 sculpture shown here. Do you see "Sing to the Lord" in the piece? 

Barbara Hepworth. Cantate Domino. 1958. Middleheim Museum, Antwerp, Belgium.

Are they hands lifted in prayer? The abstracted shape of a lyre? Turned sideways, the design looks like hills in a landscape. Let the hills sing together for joy (98:8), the psalmist says. Nature and humans are singing together in praise of the Lord. How do you read this sculpture?

Made of cast bronze in an edition of six, Cantate Domino was intended to be the sculptor's headstone. She wrote to Norman Reid, Director of the Tate Gallery: 'It was intended to be reserved as a Headstone for my grave in St Ives ... I only mention this because I have always considered this a religious work' (27 Nov. 1967, Tate Gallery Acquisitions files).

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