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Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the world’s leading thinkers, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

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Hopper’s Nighthawks: look through the window

8 minutes

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.

Video by The Nerdwriter

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Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.

But we can’t do it without you.

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the world’s leading thinkers, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

Become a Friend for $5 a month or Make a one-off donation

Essay/
Anthropology
Infanticide

There is nothing so horrific as child murder, yet it’s ubiquitous in human history. What drives a parent to kill a baby?

Sandra Newman

Essay/
Rituals & Celebrations
Who first buried the dead?

Evidence of burial rites by the primitive, small-brained Homo naledi suggests that symbolic behaviour is very ancient indeed

Paige Madison