|Nighthawks, Edward Hopper, 1942.|
Oil on canvas, 84.1 x 152.4 cm, 33.125 x 60 in Art Institute of Chicago
"Just then we had another customer. A car squeaked to a stop outside and the swinging door came open. A fellow came in who looked a little in a hurry. He held the door and ranged the place quickly with flat, shiny, dark eyes. He was well set up, dark, good-looking in a narrow-faced, tight-lipped way. His clothes were dark and a white handkerchief peeped coyly from his pocket and he looked cool as well as under a tension of some sort. I guessed it was the hot wind. I felt a bit the same myself only not cool.
"He looked at the drunk's back. The drunk was playing checkers with his empty glasses. The new customer looked at me, then he looked along the line of half-booths at the other side of the place. They were all empty. He came on in-down past where the drunk sat swaying and muttering to himself-and spoke to the bar kid.
"`Seen a lady in here, buddy? ...'"
— Raymond Chandler, "Red Wind"
"`Well, what did he say?' she asked with half-playful petulance.
"`He offered me five thousand dollars for the black bird.'"
— Dashiell Hammett, The Maltese Falcon
saw the art; I thought of the writing. But the purest piece of crime fiction here at the Art Institute of Chicago tells a story by itself, no outside writing needed.
The artist: Goya. The paintings: Friar Pedro and El Maragato
. The series of six small pictures gives us Friar Pedro (a Gerry Kells
or Tough Dick Donahue
for his time) foiling, disarming, and shooting the bandit El Margato. The bandit threatens the friar, the friar wrestles the bandit, clubs him with a gun, shoots him, and ties him up.
|Friar Pedro Offers Shoes to El Maragato and Prepares |
to Push Aside His Gun, Francisco José de Goya
y Lucientes. 1806, Oil on panel, 11.5 x 15.75 in.
(29.2 x 38.5 cm) Art Institute of Chicago
And you know the stock hard-boiled scene where the hero contemplates and analyzes his chances of distracting then jumping the bad guy so he can take away his gun? A thousand crime writers have written the scene in this century and the last one. Goya painted it in 1806.
What works of art have made you think: Wow, that's a crime story!
© Peter Rozovsky 2013
Labels: 1950s, art, Art Institute of Chicagp, Chicago, Dashiell Hammett, Edward Hopper, Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes, Goya, images, Raymond Chandler, travel, what I did on my vacation