Lighthouse Hill, 1927 by Edward Hopper

Lighthouse Hill painted in 1927, is an ominous landscape. The painting, which is currently resides in the Dallas Museum of Art. Using oil paints, Hopper created a very realistic representation of a Cottage and Lighhouse atop a hill.

Despite Hopper's bright blue sky and seemingly serene subject, Hopper's treatment of shadows made the painting somewhat disturbing and uneasy. The shadowy facade of the cottage that faces the viewer with its black windows are quite un-inviting. In addition, shadows creep outward towards the viewer across the rolling hill. It seems as if the house has spread its gloom across the painting toward the viewer. The perspective adds to the uneasiness of the painting; the house looms high above the viewer, thereby dominating the viewer.

The two architectural structures, the Lighthouse and Cottage, are clearly the focal points of painting. They contain meticulous detail, clean edges and bright white highlights. In contrast, the landscape is made of only a few large shapes and therefore lacks detail, it was also painted in a rougher style so that the brush strokes are still visible, and it was rendered with more subtle and darker colors. The Cottage immediately grabs the viewer's attention because Hopper placed it directly in the center of the painting. In addition to making the Cottage the centerpiece of the painting, Hopper's compositional decision adds a bit of unease to the painting. The Cottage and the Lighthouse, located right of the Cottage, seem to be leaving the painting to the right. The composition adds stress to the right side while leaving a disturbing gap to the left. In Summary, Hopper's painting uses an ordinarily peaceful subject to portray an uneasy mood through techniques of composition, color, and perspective.