A Greater Understanding of Norman Rockwell

Norman Rockwell is a recognized and loved American artist. He was an artist as well as an illustrator who was recognized for his illustrations which were heartwarming. He was born in the year 1894 on 3rd February to Waring and Nancy Hill and they lived in New York though during most of the summers he would spend on the countryside. He had an interest in arts which was noted early in life at the age of four when he would draw Charles Dickens character when his father was reading it to him. He would attend chase school on Saturdays while still in high school and later frequented it twice every week.

He was later to quit high school to join design academy as he followed his career. Later he joined arts student league where he met Bridgeman and Thomas Fogarty, who were his teachers. They were also draftsmen, and illustrators and this gave him support in his career as an artist. These two teachers influenced him in what he was to become as they were his role models. In the academy he was so hard working that even the students started recognizing him and he was nicknamed deacon. His first works were published in 1912 in C.H. Claudy's Tell-Me-Why Stories. In 1913 he received a major position as an art editor of boy's life magazine. During his times as an editor he would also publish his works inside the pages.

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During the year 1915; he started a studio of his own together with Clyde Forsythe who was his studio mate. He had made one of his many Saturday magazine posts by the year 1916 which he continued doing for them fifteen years after. He married a school teacher Irene whom he later divorced and married Mary Barstow and had three sons with her. He died at the age of 84 on 8th November 1978 in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, USA after suffering from emphysema. His works are still being adored by his audiences in many cities in America across the whole nation (Rayme, 1).

During his life as an artist Norman had done many paintings and one of his most popular paintings was the oil painting on the four freedoms. These paintings were taken round the country together with selling of bonds and in this a lot of money was collected from bonds which helped during the time of war. These paintings were: freedom from want, freedom from fear, freedom of worship and freedom of speech. These were inspired by President Franklin D. Roosevelt's speech in 1941.

In his speech Roosevelt said " ... We look forward to a world founded on four essential human freedoms ...(first) ...freedom of speech and expression ... (second)... freedom ... to worship God in (our) own way ...(third)... freedom from want ... a healthy peacetime life ... (fourth)... freedom from fear ... no nation will ... commit acts of physical aggression against any neighbor ..." .These painting he did at a time when world war II broke and he was desperate to give back to his country as a patriotic man would. During this period he was too old to engage in military service in order to salvage his country. This is when he thought of doing the paintings to illustrate freedom. According to Norman Rockwell freedom was to be taken as a weighty issue.

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The first freedom as stated in the speech was the freedom of speech. In his painting Norman shows a picture of a man in front of a group and expressing his opinion. The people in the crowd are seen to be well dressed than him but despite the difference he is still entitled to his right to speak out his opinion. This shows that a country can only be free when its citizens are given the opportunity to express themselves show their dissatisfaction. The second freedom as it is stated is the freedom of worship. Norman illustrates this in a painting of people praying in a manner that seems right and agreed among them. This is the wish of Norman that in future people may get this opportunity from all corners of the world (klein, 23).

The third freedom was the freedom from want. This painting on freedom from want was first published on March 1943 in Saturday Evening Post. This painting was later named thanks giving painting. In this painting there is a picture of a traditional American family who are seated at a table ready for a feast. The woman in this picture who is perceived to be the mother is seen holding a turkey .The father is seen standing behind her gazing lovingly at the awaiting feast and ready to carve the meat. He is formally dressed .Behind them is a window that bring in sheer lighting in the room. The plates and the cutlery on the table can be seen clearly as there is a contrast brought by the white tablecloth spread on the table. Glasses of water are seen adjacent to the plates well arranged.

This gives a sense of orderliness and adequacy on the thanks giving day. There are nine characters on the table that are still part of the family and they are seen to be conversing excitedly as they await the feast (Rayme, 1).This whole painting portrays Americans celebrating their freedom. A key thing to note is that this painting was done at a time when freedom and family were the most treasured things. This freedom is a noble sentiment which might be difficult to realize but can be hopefully achievable in the future (Murrin, 904).

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Freedom from fear was another painting that was portrayed in a painting of a woman tucking in the children bedding as they were sleeping and a man standing behind her looking at his children. In his hand is a newspaper with alarming stories but which he is less concerned with at the time but attention is on his children. These children are resting in their bed without fear of what is happening in the outside world despite the perils of the world.  This kind of freedom is certainly not very easy to achieve but the hope of the Americans is that it can be achieved sometime in the future (Murrin, 904).

Norman Rockwells paintings are today displayed in museum and even though many might have forgotten president Rosevelts speech it is very much alive in this art (Stan, 1). Most of his arts are inspired by his childhood life in a small town when life was interesting and much easier and seems to say that whatever life is like today is as a result of efforts of many. In his works he communicates and encourages people that even if life might be difficult we have to fight for a better tomorrow.

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