Mona Lisa and Nighthawks Analysis 9/10/12 Class

When analyzing the Mona Lisa I was surprised with the “oxymoronic” nature of the painting. I was intrigued at both the complexity and simplicity of the Mona Lisa. These characteristics were present in both the sitting figure and the background. I had always noticed the complexity in her eyes and mouth, the eyes looking melancholy while her smile could be seen as a smirk. The scenery behind her, however, seemed almost new to me as we analyzed this, which is odd since I have seen this image more times than I could probably count.  I never noticed how the presence of a lake and trees was soon followed by a desert. The desert’s color and placement reminded me of a forest that has just suffered a wild fire. I had not realized the presence of so many ovals in the photo, like in the hands, head, eyes, body and even the lake. While on the subject of shapes, I should mention the other work we examined. This being Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks. Unlike the Mona Lisa, Nighthawks was created with the use of many rectangles, this shape coupled by the harsh fluorescent lighting and ominous darkness overall gave me an uneasy feeling for the painting. What stood out to me first was the man alone on the left of the bar. It seems to me that Hopper wanted to have him sort of “melt” into the setting by using such shadowing and essentially have him become a part of the bar.