The best generation to ever live
If you’ve ever watched a TV series, this month’s featured artwork has been used to mimic a scene in a show. This oil painting, Nighthawks, was created in 1942, by Edward Hopper, right towards the bitter middle of World War 2 and a year post The Great Depression. The style of art was viewed as Modernism and what really astounds me is that so many timeless pieces of artwork were born out of these years of hardship, suffering and sacrifice.
The 1930′-1950’s are my favorite decades to study in history. The stories told of the world at war and people coming together while rising up out of the ashes always has given me a sense of patriotism and respect to the GI’s and The Silent Generation. The way women drew lines on their legs because they sacrificed their pantyhose or they learned how to build planes (among other things) to help the war effort.
If you ever get a chance to go to the World War 2 Museum in New Orleans, don’t hesitate. The memorabilia itself will blow you away but I love how daily, Veterans are available for conversation or to answer any questions you may have.
History of the piece:
Nighthawks was created following the devastating attack of Pearl Harbor and featured an image of the fear and loneliness that plagued the great New York City. This featured diner in the painting was one located in Greenwich Village and you can see three people seated. You can see the barkeep stooped low in position as the patrons aren’t really interacting with one another or the barkeep for that matter. The couple that is seated together is close in proximity but you can see on their faces that mentally they could not be further away. There is an ominous feeling regarding this painting and Hopper encapsulates it incredibly well. You can see that directly because there is absolutely not one soul on the sidewalk. If you’ve ever been to Greenwich Village, let alone New York, you know that’s not the normal.
It’s almost like Hopper bottled up the emotion, fear and loneliness, and let that be his medium to work with. Urban life has a pull on humans that most don’t understand the desire to be rooted in a small town. The hustle and bustle and the excitement that embodies a big town is something that is appealing to most of us. But here, we see a different view of urban life, one that shows solitude in a place where literally millions of people are right outside that diner door.
The artist said it best,
Great art is the outward expression of an inner life in the artist, and this inner life will result in his personal vision of the world. – Edward Hopper
If he was feeling this way as an artist in the middle of a world war in the “greatest city in the world” can you imagine how many others were walking through this and not acknowledging that emotion. But rather, pushing it aside.
Nighthawks message for today
What’s the stem root of some of this?
- F E A R.
Yep, you read that right.
The fear of what could happen was paralyzing so many from living. I think in this season of a world pandemic we can all relate to this. Regardless of your political beliefs, cast those aside. I won’t pretend to be up to date on statistics or understanding fully all the medical processes, I didn’t go to medical school. But I’m meeting weekly with more and more women who are struggling with mental health than ever before. The loss of the hustle and bustle left a lot of time for thinking, examining, and stillness. And for some, the screeching halt to “urban life” made us all feel like the people in this painting– disengaged, numb, and even burnt out.
of finances, health, spreading the virus, of the unknown.
like never before from the people we love.
from the lack of control in schedules, individuality, and mourning normalcy as we’ve known it. The CDC reported that over 41% of US citizens have struggled with mental health and substance abuse this year. That’s almost HALF our population.
I’ve seen the same look in the red head’s eyes of women I’ve met with recently. It saddens me because we weren’t mean to do life alone. From the very beginning, tribes were built to forge and combat the predator. Our urban lifestyle doesn’t consist of fear of the scavenging animal but the predator of lies and of isolation.
That doesn’t mean throw caution to the wind or to live dangerously. What it means is to live safely, not fearfully, and in COMMUNITY.
Below I’m putting verses that promote and encourage community. We need it to sharpen one another, build one another up because when one suffers, we all suffer. This won’t solve our issues but it helps the trials of this world. If you’ve thought about self harming, consult a medical professional, someone you trust, or message me. We all need community to do life with and we need to have a weapon to combat the lies that come with isolation, fear, and helplessness.
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.Galatians 6:2, NIV
For further reading:
- 1 Peter 4:8-11
- Ecclesiastes 4:9-12
- Proverbs 27:17
- Proverbs 27:17
- Matthew 18:20
- Romans 1:11-12
- John 15:12-13
- Hebrews 10:24-25
- Philippians 2:3-16
- Romans 12:3-13
- Ephesians 4:2-6
- Acts 2:44-47
- 1 Peter 4:8-11
- Proverbs 17:17
- Proverbs 27:17
I’m always here.