This is George Frederic Watts 1886 painting, “Hope.” Hope is sitting on a globe, blindfolded, clutching a wooden lyre with only one string left intact. She sits in a hunched position, with her head leaning towards the instrument, perhaps so she can hear the faint music she can make with the sole remaining string.
This painting, inspired a scene from a (1922 film) of the same name and it is thought by some that it had an influence on Picasso’s early ‘Blue Period’ paintings.
Nelson Mandella reportedly had a print of the painting on the wall of his prison cell on Robben Island..
After Egypt was defeated by Israel during the Six-Day War, the Egyptian government issued copies of this painting to its troops.
The painting was the subject of a lecture by Dr Frederick G. Sampson in Richmond, Virginia, in the late 1980s, who described it as a study in contradictions. The lecture was attended by Jeremiah Wright and inspired him to give a sermon in 1990 on the subject of Hope. He said:
…with her clothes in rags, her body scarred and bruised and bleeding, her harp all but destroyed and with only one string left, she had the audacity to make music and praise God … To take the one string you have left and to have the audacity to hope … that’s the real word God will have us hear from this passage and from Watt’s painting.
Barack Obama attended this sermon, and later adopted the phrase “audacity of hope” as the title for his 2004 Democratic National Convention keynote address as well as the title of his second book. Obama’s speech instantly catapulted him to a national stage, both as a star within the Democratic party and set the stage for the day that he would become president.
Imagine a World with more Hope.
Rom 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in your faith, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may overflow with hope.