The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

This Week's Hopper #18


American Village (1912)

7 comments :

Barney Hopkins said...

Beautiful. Hopper proving the language of cinema is vital to all American art — here using an establishing shot to convey the same mood typical of his most iconic work focusing on one figure.

estiv said...

What is the dark object at the bottom?

Barney Hopkins said...

Railroad bridge railing? A guess.

Tom Sutpen said...

I could be wrong, but it seems like the bottom of whatever window Hopper parked his canvas next to.

estiv said...

I don't think it's the bottom of a window, because the rest of the scene is visible on each side of it, which would not be the case if it were the bottom of a window. Of course for Hopper it existed mostly as an element in the overall composition, and that's why it's there. But still, he was not an abstract painter: it's meant to represent some specific physical object. I know it doesn't matter much, but it's driving me nuts -- a large but not particularly obtrusive black mass with blue highlights. What the hell is it?

swac said...

A billboard?

estiv said...

My guess would be not a billboard, but I'll admit I have no better suggestion. Like I say, what it really is is an element in the overall composition. I know that when Hopper was painting a city scene, he would often start with an actual locale but had no qualms about changing the location of whole buildings if he felt it improved the picture.