Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Modern Art (pt. 11)

Others of Edward Hopper's paintings addressed the recreational languor of rural life.  While a scene such as this one, titled The Long Leg, does not show skyscrapers or streets, it remains inextricably tied to the imagery of American life.  Pictured here is a beach in Provincetown, Massachusetts.  Undertones of solitude pervade the calm, quiet scene.  Obviously the lone sailboat is quite a distance out from the shore and the small lighthouse just beyond.  It seems to be drifting tranquilly out to open sea, where many hazards await; but here, now, the scene is peaceful.  The bright colors here offer a change in tone from the artist's earlier Automat work, but the serenity operates toward the same thematic ends, to motifs of lonesomeness and abandonment, only with added subtlety and, in fact, beauty.  The lure of a painting such as this is that it can evoke a type of sadness with such delicacy and calmness that it almost becomes desirable, or simultaneously sad and contented.  All the gentle colors seem to encourage the slow, graceful motion of the boat across the water and into the uncertainty of the sea.  There is poignancy in the boat's departure expressive of the artist's detachment from society here.

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