Nighthawks

November 21, 2010

Nighthawks

Before we focus on the people inside let’s examine the exterior of this setting. We immediately notice that all the streets are empty with no cars or people. This evokes a tranquil existence outside of the business. The streets are clean and empty with no sign of any objects; there is no litter, fire hydrants, garbage cans, mailboxes etc… The sidewalk is purely white almost resembling snow which can be symbolic for isolation and loneliness. This illustrates the idea that at night there is no existence or activity in the outside world unless you are in an building being illuminated by lights and electricity. Without technology, the four individuals in this picture would not be able to interact at this time of night.

This picture is literally dominated by geometric shapes. There are rectangles, circles and squares large visible. There are four people inside this building and there are two large coffee machines placed to the right of the couple. Industry is present in the room as the two coffee machines sit together as a couple paralleling the couple in the room; however they are positioned higher than the couple. The humans are dwarfed by everything else in the painting. Could this be symbolic for industry’s existence to be above human existence?

While the white on the sidewalk draws my attention, the light illuminating the interior wall captures my attention the most. Here light illuminates a room for human beings and allows for interaction to take place. By looking closely at the wall we find that it is the most vivid image of the entire room. There is an obvious contrast of the rooms brightness to the view just outside of the window which is entirely dark. The atmosphere that this room creates does not have a homely feel of a coffee shop such as a Starbucks. The light looks more like an office light which is unsuitable for the circumstance.

Here are some Nighthawks at Starbucks, notice the softer, yellow lighting which gives more of a homely feel vs the white lighting in Nighthawks

VS

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