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Edward Hopper - Lighthouse Hill (1927)

Size: 71.76 x 100.33 cm

Genre: Landscape

Origin: USA

Currently placed at the Dallas Museum of Art

Lighthouse Hill is a painting from 1927, it currently is placed at the Dallas Museum of Art. Of all the American realist painters who were active in the 19th century, Edward Hopper is one of the most loved. His paintings of silent, empty streets, lonely people and monumental old houses are familiar to many of us.

In a sense, authenticity was not his key focus. Spatial organization, abrupt cropping of structures, alterations of scale and unusual viewpoints are some of the compositional devices Hopper used to enhance his paintings.

According to Gail Levin, an art historian, sometimes he painted at the site, but more often, especially in the latter part of his career, he made detailed drawings with color notations and then executed the final painting in the studio. He didn't work from photographs, although he sometimes used a camera to record architectural details.

Revealing his distrust of the camera, he once commented, ``The camera sees things from a different angle, not like the eye,'' adding that photographic images ``do not have enough weight.''

For this painting is discussion, Edward Hopper has used oil paints and created a very realistic representation of a Cottage and Lighthouse atop a hill. It is an ominous landscape. The sun shines, but it does not account for a cheery landscape. The shadows creep outward towards the viewer across the rolling hill. Hopper's experimentation with light is indicative of his style, therefore his outdoor sceneries and landscapes are very expressive.

Edward Hopper's enthusiasm for the sea is exhibited throughout his paintings including Lighthouse hill. Some critics say that Edward defined 20th century realism with his grim, eerie scenes which conveyed the isolation of modern life. In his general art work, he has little regard for detail unlike other realist painters, for him, it is more important to convey the scene considering the geometry.

Even though the painting is of a blue sky and a serene object, the use of shadows has made it somewhat disturbing and uneasy. The viewer looks at the painting from the bottom of the hill. It seems as if the house or the cottage has spread its gloom across the painting towards the viewer.

The focal points of the painting are the Lighthouse and the Cottage. They are created with meticulous detail. In contrast, the landscape is only of a plain green grass, therefore lacks detail. Also the painting style is more rugged, leaving visible brush strokes on the painting.

In summary, Hopper's painting uses ordinary peaceful subjects to portray a completely opposite mood through his painting techniques, colors and perspective!

Manesha Peiris (2021)