A supercut of homage and interpretation.
Over the years we’ve brought you a handful of video essays about the relationship between visual and cinematic art, how directors will borrow from famous paintings and sculptures in their framing, but never before have we brought you such an essay that focuses exclusively on the influence of one artist. Thanks to editor Ignacio Montalvo, however, now we can.
Edward Hopper is one of the most famous American artists of the 20th century. A native New-Yorker, Hopper was a realist whose work was centered around depictions of modern American life, like a starker sort of Norman Rockwell, a man not afraid to show the shadows blended into the everyday. His most famous work, Nighthawks, a simple late-nite diner scene from 1942, has been recreated time and time again in film, television, and graphic print, but that’s just one of the artist’s many paintings that have appealed to filmmakers over the years. In episode eight of the new Twin Peaks, an episode many, myself included, consider one of the most artistic achievements the medium has ever known, Lynch makes no less than three direct visual references to Hopper’s work, which in his hands become perversions of the American dream.
Many other filmmakers have also interpreted Hopper through their personal perspectives, ranging from the innocent to the corrupt, realistic to farcical, and severe to lighthearted. Press play below to start your tour through the Movie Museum of Edward Hopper.