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The flickering ray of hope in the stark loneliness of Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks

The American artist Edward Hopper (1882–1967) was part of the realist movement, and his oil paintings depict isolation, modernity and everyday life in the US. Nighthawks (1942), likely his best-known work, portrays a nighttime scene of customers sitting in a near-empty Manhattan diner. In this video essay, Evan Puschak (also known as The Nerdwriter) explores the themes of voyeurism, vulnerability and alienation that pervade Hopper’s work, and considers whether Nighthawks’ historical context might lend it a surprising air of optimism.

13 September 2016

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