• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Critical Analysis of Nighthawks, Edward Hopper

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

EDWARD HOPPER NIGHTHAWKS CRITICAL ANALYSIS This piece, Nighthawks was painted by Edward Hopper in 1942. Hopper was born in Nyack, New York in 1882, and is classed as the best painter of modern American life, painting amazing realism pieces of everyday life in cities, towns, villages and all sorts of surroundings. Hopper was a realist; he painted everyday scenes, one of his teachers, the artist Robert Henri, influenced Hopper to draw realistic depictions of urban life. By 1899 he had already decided to become an artist, but his parents persuaded him to begin by studying commercial illustration, painting for posters, books and advertising, because this seemed to offer a more secure future. He first attended the New York School of Illustrating and then in 1900 transferred to the New York School of Art. When he left school Hopper became a commercial artist, designing posters, books and other advertising aids as his parents had wanted. At the age of 42 Hopper gave up this career, becoming a full time artist, leaving a secure, well paid job to do what he loved full time. He was inspired by impressionists, especially their interest in light. You can tell the influence this had on his work when you look at any impressionists work, with the short brushstrokes and bright colours, and more importantly their representation of reflected light. Some areas of his work aren't as similar to Impressionist painters; Hopper used smooth looking brush strokes unlike the very visible, short strokes of impressionists. ...read more.

Middle

The figures in the image appear to be a barman, a man and woman sitting together, and another man sitting by himself. The way they are dressed suggests a 1920's theme, but it could also be influenced from the 1940's - 1950's gangster films that were so popular in America. The intense brightness means that the people inside are exposed and vulnerable to the outside world and the preying eyes of passers by and the figures hunch their shoulders protectively. Hopper used himself as a model for both the seated men, suggesting he feels as though he is in the same situation as them. He modelled the woman, as he did all of his female characters, on his wife Jo. Hopper was a hard man to live with and was less emotionally attached to his wife than she was to him. From Jo's diaries we learn that Hopper described this work as a painting of just three characters. The man behind the counter is in fact free, and it is the other figures that are trapped. The question we ask ourselves is are the men there to prey on the woman, or has she come in to prey on the men? The piece is separated into two different sections; to the right hand side is the artificially lit up bar, and to the left is the dark, empty street with a shadowy, sinister alley. The caf´┐Ż does not look at all welcoming, in fact somewhat foreboding. ...read more.

Conclusion

He believes that there are only three key figures in the painting. They are, the couple sitting together and the barman. The barman though imprisoned in the triangular counter, is in fact free. He has a job, and a home, he can come and go as he pleases. Hopper says it is the customers who are the nighthawks. He writes, "Nighthawks are predators - but are the men there to prey on the woman, or has she come in to prey on the men? To my mind, the man and woman are a couple, as the position of their hands suggests, but they are a couple so lost in misery that they cannot communicate; they have nothing to give each other." So the barman and the couple are a complete contrast of being trapped and being free. Hopper then says "I see the nighthawks of the picture not so much as birds of prey, but simply as birds: great winged creatures that should be free in the sky, but instead are shut in, dazed and miserable, with their heads constantly banging against the glass of the world's callousness." It is clear that Hopper is making a statement about American life at the time it was painted. He suggests that people blame others for their lack of success but it is in fact their fault. He hints at the untouched talent of human nature, by saying that people are "great winged creatures" that "are shut in". I think this suggests that Hopper is somewhat bitter towards people and blames them for the pain and suffering they endure. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Art section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Art essays

  1. Critical Analysis on The Scream

    creates multiple meanings, yet gives a mixture of emotion that is recognized and experienced by everyone. The silent scream echoes within the painting and out to the viewer. The two shadowy figures in the background are somewhat mysterious, are they lurking and frightening the screamer or have they passed by and not even noticed the other person's terror.

  2. Art analysis

    To create work such as this you would need specific skills such as being able to understand and incorporate symbolism into your pieces and to be capable of using computer programs to alter your films. You also need to be able to greatly consider the position and setting of your

  1. Artist analysis- Zac Smith

    The sheer complexity and detail of the piece must have involved time and absolute talent to produce. His large amount of knowledge gained from hours of research and his natural talent with fine black pen has enabled Smith to create a piece outstanding and eye-catching.

  2. Critical Analysis of

    memories, and personal ghosts that there reside : deathbeds, women and men in tears, sick women. "The Scream" is a typical example of this 'thesis'. Here, munch paints a sound, a feeling, a personal experience, rather than a person. When he painted "The Scream", his affair had just collapsed.

  1. The boundaries between culture and nature have collapsed and the body has become flexible

    it is unfinished, outgrows itself, transgresses its own limits.'xix[xix] This image of the pregnant hag is highly ambivalent, from a feminist reading, but it does allow for exuberance and a celebration of the transgressive aspects of the monstrous feminine, which counters idealisations of certain kinds of female beauty.

  2. Art Critical Review

    As I continued walking though the Exhibition. I came across a magnificent artwork which was called "Windy and wet". It was made by Arthur Streeton in 1889, for this specific Exhibition. This artwork showed a boy struggling against the wind and storm on a wet and rainy day.

  1. Art Analysis - the first thing I did was use the technique of ...

    I am happy with how my work turned out. This is because I managed to create exactly what I was imagining. I believe that my work is successful as it has the intention to intrigue the audience into looking at it closer and understanding what the piece is.

  2. Lucia Hartini painted Spying Eyes first and then its sequel Sri Kandi.

    As a female artist, Lucia Hartini feels constrained by the fact there is a significant big gap between number of male and female contemporary artists. She seemed to have an obsession with eyes as in both ?Spying Eyes? and ?Sri Kandi?, she depicted eyes in the paintings.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work