Among the Sierra Nevada, California, one of Bierstadt’s largest and most spectacular Western landscapes, was painted in Rome during the winter of 1867-68 and toured throughout Europe during the following year. Though it was probably the only glimpse Europeans, and even most Americans, would ever have of the majesty of the West, in fact the painting was a construct from start to finish. Upon its public exhibition in the United States, some critics faulted Bierstadt for not producing a topographically accurate portrait of the landscape, while others praised him for his “power of combination—an ideal union of the most splendid and characteristic features of our western mountains…a perfect type of the American idea of what our scenery ought to be, if it is not so in reality.”
Transgression speaks to the wicked
deep in their hearts;
there is no fear of God
before their eyes.
2 For they flatter themselves in their own eyes
that their iniquity cannot be found out and hated.
3 The words of their mouths are mischief and deceit;
they have ceased to act wisely and do good.
4 They plot mischief while on their beds;
they are set on a way that is not good;
they do not reject evil.
5 Your steadfast love, O Lord, extends to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the clouds.
6 Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
your judgments are like the great deep;
you save humans and animals alike, O Lord.
7 How precious is your steadfast love, O God!
All people may take refuge in the shadow of your wings.
8 They feast on the abundance of your house,
and you give them drink from the river of your delights.
9 For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.
10 O continue your steadfast love to those who know you,
and your salvation to the upright of heart!