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Analysis of The Painting ‘early Sunday Morning’ by Edward Hopper

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Early Sunday Morning is famous art of Edward Hopper and is well known for its visual symbols. This painting was made in 1930 using oil on canvas to depict a typical Sunday morning in a marketplace of New York City. The original painting is currently owned by the Whitney Museum of American Art located in New York. This painting is a perfect combination of elements of art which makes it an ideal representation of the principles of designs. These principles of design further describe the hidden symbols of painting like the silence of Sunday morning. In This essay I will make an art analysis of this painting.

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The primary element of the artwork analysis that is being illustrated is the light and the value that is added by light. The sunlight is shown with the help of the shadows and it is quite clear from the shadows that the sun is on the right. Since it is morning time which is depicted by the title of the painting and reflected in the painting itself, the sun should be in an east direction which means that the shops are facing south direction and the viewer of the painting is facing north direction. The shadows can be seen for the fireplug, windows, street contours and many other things. This illustration of shadows with the use of light and dark colors adds value to the painting. The painting depicts that areas that are exposed to light during the morning are brighter and shining while the shadowed areas seem a little bit dull. So, the concept of lighted areas and shadowed areas adds variety to the image.

Variety as a principle of design is highly illustrated through many other varying elements of art like the colors and the shapes. The artist used the color scheme of complementary colors to create an appealing element. The use of reddish-orange color for the buildings and the blue color for the sky creates a vivid contrast because these colors are opposite in the color wheel. The dark green color underneath the rooftop and the light green colors for the street add variety and value to the painting in terms of color intensity. Moreover, the use of darker colors for the storefront surrounded by the light-colored borders and the different colors inside the windows makes it more diverse. Different geometrical shapes, for example the dark-colored square shape in the storefront, the rectangular shaped windows, circular shaped top of the colorful pole make the image less monotonous.

Edward Hopper focused a lot on the symmetry and repetition as the principles of design to create a balanced painting and this design is brought by him through the repeating shapes. The top part of the building has repeating shapes of windows and those shapes are the same and almost equidistant. Then the storefronts are also the same and equidistant from each other. So, these all contribute to the symmetry and rhythm in the composition of the picture. Though there are a few things that lead to asymmetry like the fireplug, colorful barber pole, different color in windows and different borders of storefronts, but the symmetrical objects dominate overall. If seen with a wider perspective, the colorful barber pole can be seen as balancing the fireplug asymmetrically. Besides symmetry, the repetition of shapes of windows and storefronts depicts the unity of the painting in terms of its formation. This unity factor brings forth the concept that the image is continuous in its formation.

This artwork is visually strong due to several factors and the lines play a major role in representing it this way. The picture is dominant longitudinally because the horizontal lines are used the most. The horizontal lines are used to make the rooftop, the bottom, and top of the windows, the contours of the street, the middle partition of the building, the bottom of the building and a lot more. The vertical lines also play a significant role in the painting because these contrasting lines complete each shape by attaching the horizontal lines. There are implied lines too which can be seen in the top and the bottom of the windows. The artist used the lines to create clear edges that help in accenting various minute details and in attracting the viewer visually.

The first view of the artwork reveals the focal point which seems to be made intentionally by Hopper. The focal point is the colorful barber pole which is the center of attraction due to its colors. It stands out from its background because it is painted with bright cool colors while its background is mostly painted using warm colors. So, these bright cool colors dominate over the warm colors and thus, they lay emphasis on the focal point. Other than the focal point, the other elements of art which are used by the artist is the proportion to organize the whole picture in a way that seems ideal. The relative size of windows, doors, fireplug seems proportional to the size of the building. The space around the barber pole and the fireplug reflect the emptiness of the streets which further symbolize the no rush time.

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In the nutshell, as analyzed in the paper, this painting by Edward Hopper is a great artistic work containing all elements of art ranging from lines and shapes to the depiction of time. The elements further reflect the principle of designs in the painting which are balance, unity, variety with the contrasts, unity, rhythm, proportion and focal point with the concept of accenting. There is also stillness in the painting that is emphasized through the repetition and the rhythm of the windows and store doorways. This stillness is further highlighted by the emptiness of streets emphasize on the stillness of the picture. So, there is not any element pertaining to motion rather it is a static view of a street brightened by the sunlight. This piece is indeed symbolic. The use of light and shadows depict the morning time of the day. The emptiness of the street depicts that the people are not out of their homes at this time period of the day for some reason and this is the final mystery that it leaves for the viewer to explore.

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Analysis Of The Painting ‘Early Sunday Morning’ By Edward Hopper. (2021, March 18). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 28, 2023, from
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