Seminar 09-12-12

In class on Wednesday we continued our look at Edward Hopper paintings while also discussing an idea brought up by John Berger in Ways of Seeing.  Although looking at Hopper’s collection was interesting, our discussion on the excerpt from Ways of Seeing was what I really enjoyed about Wednesday’s seminar.  Discussing the idea that men can always get away with a lot more as far as appearance goes is something I definitely agree with but never really gave much thought to.  The fact that it was so obvious yet seemed so new was probably what left me in awe. As an example, we took a closer look at Robert Di Nero at a special event.  In the picture, Di Nero looked like he had barely put any effort into his appearance.  His hair was gray and a bit messy, he looked a bit scruffy which gave the impression that he was too lazy to shave that morning, and it seemed as though he wore his wrinkles proudly, taking no measures to hide them.  We then took another look at the Mona Lisa and the effort she must have put into her appearance. It is exactly this that likely made her worthy enough to be the subject of Da Vinci’s painting.  Her hair looked done, her dress was elegant and made of rich material, and she even included accessories like a veil and shawl.  By the end of our discussion I was convinced, and even a bit uneasy.

Some other things that stood out to me from Wednesday’s class were a few of the paintings by Edward Hopper.  The first piece was Hopper’s New York Interior.  At first glance I really liked the painting.  Although I was unable to see the woman in the painting’s face, I still managed to feel bad for her.  This was probably because of her bulging muscles that told the story of her hardworking and tiring life, or the small and dark apartment that she was forced to live in because she was probably not doing too well for herself.  Another painting that I recall is Night Shadows.  I remember being intrigued by this painting when it was first put up on the projector.  I thought it was pretty cool how Hopper was able to make me uncomfortable by convincing me that I was stalking the suspiciously speed walking man that was in the painting.  The scene is dark and brings on some mystery, which seems to be a trend with Edward Hopper considering that New York Interior, American Landscape, Seven A.M. and a couple of others that have this same element of style.  Another trend that I found looking at Hopper’s collection is his obsession with shapes.  In Night Shadows Hopper paints columns in the background which adds a number of vertical lines to the piece.  The same occurs in New York Interior where vertical lines and rectangles are made into curtains, doors, and a detailed fireplace with columns.  Hopper cannot even control himself from adding a bit of this element to his self- portrait where he includes the door and doorframe of the room he is sitting in.