Wednesday – Edward Hopper’s Style

In class on Wednesday, we first discussed the idea of gaze. By definition, it means to be looking at something and thinking about it. For example, the Mona Lisa knows someone is looking at it because the eyes are gazing at us, the spectators. I think the smirk indicates that the gaze is reciprocated. The whole notion of gaze becomes one with the painting. Shortly after discussing that, Professor Kahan brought up the connection between Ways of Seeing, with how one views various pictures and other forms of artwork. We first took a look at a picture resembling Robert De Niro, and how we collectively ascribe power to him because just of the man he is. But, if all of his physical attributes such as: messy hair and scraggly beard were attached to someone other than Robert De Niro; we would most definitely think of that person in a negative manner. The other piece of artwork we stumbled on in relation to gaze was the, Mona Lisa. From what I can see, her face is smooth, her hair is done with curls, and her dress looks like its made of silk, which represents her stature in society. In connection with the picture of Mr. De Niro, women always have to look presentable and they can’t do what Robert does appearance wise, without getting judged significantly. The next order of business was depicting Edward Hopper’s style in his twelve paintings. Style, in relation to fashion, identifies the time period it’s in and what was useful during that particular period. For example, in the Fall 2012 collection, a good portion of various clothing lines represent the military, because it’s a way of showing solidarity, and it epitomizes what exactly is going on in this span of time. I think Edward Hopper’s style has a definite duality, in the way that it pertains to both the past as well as the present. This is seen quite lucidly in his various works of art. In the first painting, American Landscape, a house is placed in the middle of a farm. Some elements that make it look frightening are the size of the cows in relation to the house, the dimensions are flattened out, and it looks as if this particular house is in the middle of nowhere. The way it is painted, doesn’t allow me to see the bottom of it because it is below the train tracks. This artwork looks like it is part of the United States and can represent early America as well as present day. This idea flows coherently in Mr. Hopper’s style because all his paintings are universal and timeless. In his next painting, New York Interior there is a fireplace and painting in the picture, which can clearly relate to the early 1900s and the 21st century. The clock on the mantel, the ridges in the wood, and the columns are all decorative tools used to depict his style as it relates to classicism. I think, the woman in the painting is probably a dancer or maybe works in a dance hall. The clothes she is wearing leads me to conceive the notion that she could be a ballerina or a wealthy woman who just came back from a ball, and is taking off her heals and massaging her exhausted feet. In the third painting by Edward Hopper, Night Shadows a cartoonish image immediately pops into my head when I first laid my eyes on it. Therefore, from the start, the style embodies a present day take on cartoon shows. It looks as if the person is in a hurry due to his abnormally large strides and the tall lamppost causing a shadow. I think these entire paintings have another side to Edward Hopper’s style, which happens to be the mysterious factor. In American Landscape, New York Interior, and Night Shadows there are many elements in the painting that enable me to formulate questions in my head consisting of: how, why, and what is trying to be actually depicted. Therefore, I presume that the artist’s style exemplifies the duality of the past and present (universality), and the enigmatic side, in relation to the three works of art described.