Realism has been an artistic feature that seems to have been lost in modern art as compared to the pieces developed in the 20th century. The philosophy of realism as presented by Pablo Picasso stands at the inspiration of realism and a number of 20th-century artists; however, the true genius of realism from this period was highlighted in creativity. Edward Hopper remains to this day the most prolific realism artist of his generation. His maestro in bringing up artistic impression as well as literature through different mediums in a manner that is as lifelike as possible. His ‘city roofs’ (1932) identifies his virtuoso in his presentation of realism.
The painting is of the part skyline of New York skyline in 1932. The painting is bathed in a warm brown glow of the evening sun that stretches through the background. Hopper uses shades of black, brown and white to bring in expressionism as well as surrealism on a class than any other. The centrepiece of the painting is the foreground, which has a variety of shades that brings in light and shadows. The storied building on the right side of the painting is placed to break the monotony of distance in the ‘Shakespeare at dusk’ (central park) painting. However, the social realism of the urban setup mimic’s the depth of texture seen in the ‘Camel’s hump’ painting. This is the unique nature of the city roof piece as it represents a number of expressionism features that bring reality to a still life.
Edward Hopper was understood to be an artist driven by emotion that he derived from his surroundings. The city roofs painting identifies tranquillity in a complex environment. He brings life through the warmth of the sun as well as the shadings from shadow and distance. It may be suggested that a similar image is seen in the Port Elizabeth ‘Lighthouse and building’ piece. However, the city roofs painting gains such a feeling without the clear blue skies or lush green lands. To this time, none of the unbar paintings finds the feelings highlighted in the city roofs painting.