Edward Hopper Essay

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Automat - Edward Hopper (1927) The painting is a realistic painting which depicts a lonely woman glaring into a cup of coffee in an automat, with fine clothes and make-up. She is wearing a hat which is being pulled low over her forehead. She seems to be sorrowful and not willing to communicate with other people. It seems that she is carrying a heavy burden. The winter clothes and gloves of the woman imply a cold condition and symbolize a sense of indifference and coolness. Hopper uses many symbols to emphasize the sadness of the painting. For instance, the dark corner and the shadows underneath the table indicate and emphasize the senses of gloomy. They bring the feeling of sadness to the viewer that the woman evokes and create the echo of sadness. Thus, they make the situation more mournful. Hopper also portray the automat as an unnaturally empty area. The window behind the woman reflects no one in such a vast restaurant. It only reflects lights in the ceilings of the automat and is quite impressionistic. Although there are lights in the restaurant, they fail to shine anything in the outside world. Thus, it makes the atmosphere more gloomy and pessimistic. The complete darkness in the window also allows views to focus on the woman. The facial expression of the woman and the atmosphere of the restaurant emphasize the message of solipsistic isolation. While Hopper is trying to create a sense of darkness and loneliness in the restaurant, the legs of the woman is quite conspicuous and can catch attention of the viewer. Hopper depicts the woman’s legs as a bright focus of the painting. However, in the 1920s, it was still relatively uncommon to portray women’s legs publicly. In bygone days, women were not supposed to expose their bodies, including legs, to the general public but Hopper’s painting is an openness to the traditional notion of women. Barbara

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