Santa Classics

Edward Hopper - Nighthawks

Hopper said the painting "was suggested by a restaurant on Greenwich Avenue where two streets meet. I simplified the scene a great deal and made the restaurant bigger."  Hopper posed for the two men in a mirror and wife Jo for the girl. Nighthawks was probably Hopper’s most ambitious essay in capturing the night-time effects of manmade light. This interior light comes from more than a single lightbulb, with the result that multiple shadows are cast, and some spots are brighter than others as a consequence of being lit from more than one angle. Light was the most powerful and personal of Hopper's expressive means. He used it as an active element in his paintings to model forms, define the time of day, establish a mood, and create pictorial drama by contrasting it with areas of shadow and darkness.

Hopper made many small sketches of concepts and details of his pictures before working on the final paintings. Many of the sketches for this painting still remain. To see the original :

Edward Hopper – Nighthawks - 1942 - Art Institute of Chicago

Georges de la Tour - The Fortune Teller

Georges de la Tour was a 17th century painter whose work lived in obscurity until the 1930’s. He reappeared when the Louvre mounted an exhibition of French 17th century painters. Then his work began to sell for millions. This painting was purchased by the Met in 1960 for an undisclosed ,but ”very large sum of money”. The French were outraged, but like several other de la Tours the Louvre may have considered it a fake. Among the evidence is a claim that the word "MERDE" (French for "shit") could be seen in the lace collar of the young woman second from left.  Two members of the Metropolitan curatorial staff accepted that the word was there, regarding it as the work of a recent restorer, and it was then removed in 1982. See the original:

Georges de la Tour – The Fortune Teller – 1630
Metropolitan Museum of Art

Claude Monet - The Japanese Footbridge and the Water Lily Pool, Giverny

I was honored that the Monet Foundation Giverny used the Santa Classics version of the Japanese Bridge for their holiday card to their sponsors in 2016. The Philadelphia Museum of Art used it for a holiday post in 2017 and got over 10,000 views.

 Monet spent much of the 1890s cultivating a garden, complete with a pond, water lilies and a Japanese footbridge, on his farmhouse property in Giverny. He did it just so he could paint beautiful motifs. This is one of the 18 paintings he did of this view. The Japanese footbridge can be found in museums all over the world. This version was from the Philadelphia Museum of Art. See the original:

Claude Monet – The Japanese Bridge and Water Lily Pool, Giverny – 1889
Philadelphia Museum of art

Anthony van Dyck – Charles I in Three Positions

Van Dyck, who had been appointed the principal painter of Charles I, was asked to paint the king from three sides. The portrait was sent to the sculptor Bernini in Rome, who had been commissioned by Pope Urban VIII to make a bust of King Charles. The Pope wanted to give the bust to Charles’ catholic Queen Henrietta in an attempt at reconciliation with the Church of England. The final sculpture was a big hit with King and queen, but sadly it was destroyed in the Whitehall Palace fire 1698.
To see the original:

Anthony Van Dyck - Charles I in Three Positions 1635-1636
Royal Collection (Buckingham Palace)

Henry Fuseli – The Nightmare

The Nightmare was likely inspired by an interpretation of dreams based on Germanic folklore, in which demons possessed people who slept alone. In these stories men were visited by horses, and women were ravished by the devil. The woman is surmounted by an incubus; a mythological demon who lies upon sleeping women. It has remained Fuseli's best-known work. With its first exhibition in 1782 at the Royal Academy of London, the image became famous. After that Fuseli painted at least three versions.
To see the original:

Henry Fuseli - The Nightmare - 1871
Detroit Institute of Art