Soir Bleu by Edward Hopper, 1914. (Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY, USA) Oil on canvas. 91.4 x 182.9 cm.
Bastille Day is celebrated as the French national day of independence. Though it was named for the storming of Bastille, the date also commemorates the uprising of the French people against a constitutional monarchy. Here Hopper creates a theatrical snapshot of Bastille Day in France. By using dramatic lighting, starkly contrasting colors, and compositional specificity he has distilled a scene of otherwise banal daily activity and made something dramatically beautiful. His tactics allow the viewer to see the various personalities that make up French society and they all play specific characters throughout the image. Whether highlighted by glowing lanterns or hidden away in the play of shadows, each subject plays a role in this composed yet candid glimpse into Parisian life.
Further reading: (x)
For more Edward Hopper visit Art Authority and download the award-winning app, available for iPhone, iPad, and Mac.