Nighthawks (Hopper)  

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Nighthawks (1942) is a painting by Edward Hopper that portrays people sitting in a downtown diner late at night. It is not only Hopper's most famous painting, but one of the most recognizable in American art.

The portrayal of modern urban life as empty or lonely is a common theme throughout Hopper's work. If one looks closely, it becomes apparent that there is no way out of the bar area, as the three walls of the counter form a triangle which traps the attendant. It is also notable that the diner has no visible door leading to the outside, which illustrates the idea of confinement and entrapment. Hopper denied that he had intended to communicate this in Nighthawks, but he admitted that "unconsciously, probably, I was painting the loneliness of a large city." At the time of the painting, fluorescent lights had just been developed, perhaps contributing to why the diner is casting such an eerie glow upon the almost pitch black outside world.

See also

works of art in the collective unconscious

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