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Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks

Posted by: Sara Paccione | November 21, 2010 | No Comment |

When I look at Edward Hopper’s painting Nighthawks, I actually think that it is sort of a peaceful scene.  While I can see how it can be interpreted as a picture of loneliness and maybe even sadness, I personally find it to be more pleasant than that.  To me, there is something kind of comforting about the image of the open diner when everything else around it is empty and closed.  I don’t think it looks particularly sad or depressing, even if the people in the diner do not seem particularly animated.  It just seems to be a quiet, late night scene in a location where people can go to be with other people but be isolated at the same time.  For whatever reason, this painting makes me think of saxophone music, possibly because of the quiet urban scene portrayed in it.

As a New York City resident, I can imagine myself painting a picture like this with the mood I described.  When I’m on a road trip and I go to rural areas or even urban areas in cities that are not NYC, I’m usually a little bit unsettled by the lack of open stores and restaurants at night (even if it’s not particularly late) and the darkness in every window.  Only after going to other cities have I realized that NYC is, as Frank Sinatra sang, the “city that never sleeps,” and I think that this painting evokes some of that image for me, even if that might not have been its original intended purpose.

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