Isolation/Alienation

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“Amid those scenes of solitude...the mind is cast into the contemplation of eternal things.” —Thomas Cole

As it is typically the fate of an artist to work alone, isolation and alienation are frequent themes throughout the history of art. Whether a painting of a solitary figure or a photograph of a barren landscape, these works carry a pervading sense of emptiness or sadness. Especially in the modern world, figures don't have to be by themselves to feel isolated or alienated. Impressionist painters like Edgar Degas portrayed figures who were surrounded by people yet entirely bored and alone, a theme picked up some decades later in Edward Hopper's Nighthawks. Vincent van Gogh and Edvard Munch, alluded to their own and others’ isolation explicitly in chilling portraits, often produced in series.

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