Hopper painted the railroad tracks and dark tunnel as you enter New York City. What kind of mood does he create with the dark, mysterious tunnel? What other parts of the painting add to this mood?
Compare Hopper’s Approaching a City to John Sloan’s Six O’Clock, Winter. They are both paintings of New York. How is Hopper’s painting different from Sloan’s? Do they have different moods? Colors? Make a list of all of the differences you see.
Imagine you live in one of the buildings near the railroad tracks. What would you hear? See? Make a drawing of what you might see from your window.
Hopper used dark, neutral colors to create his cityscape. The only nature he included is the hint of sky located at the top of the painting above the center building. Why do you think the artist included this bit of bright blue sky in an otherwise bleak painting?
Hopper painted the city of New York. Have you ever been to a big city like New York? Are the streets and sidewalks usually filled with people and traffic? How is Hopper’s painting different from your image of New York? Why do you think the artist made the choice to paint his painting with no people?
This painting was created the year after World War II ended. Do you think this event had any effect on the mood of Hopper’s painting? Why or why not?
Pretend you are in this painting, riding the train as you enter the city. How do you feel as you approach the tunnel? What will you see when you exit the other side of the tunnel? Write a story about what you find.
Hopper suggested the presence of trains by including the train tracks. Why did the artist choose not to paint an actual train?
What kinds of shapes has Hopper used to create his cityscape? Are they geometric shapes? Has he included any organic shapes anywhere in the painting?
Hopper used many geometric shapes in his painting. Count the number of rectangles you find.