In 2008 a series highlighting five great paintings by Norman Rockwell appeared on the ruleofreason.blogspot.com/ site.
Author, Nicholas Provenzo, begins with the words, “The American painter Norman Rockwell ranks among my favorite artists.” I whole-heartedly agree!
Provenzo describes, in nice detail, five great Rockwell paintings. They are:
Part I: The Scoutmaster
Part II: The Homecoming Marine
Part III: Lincoln the Railsplitter
Part IV: The Problem We All Live With
Part V: Freedom of Speech
Provenzo’s descriptions are on many levels and well-written and thought-provoking–and still relevant in 2015.
While all five are excellent. I’ll highlight two.
“Part IV” is noteworthy because it is of an actual six-year-old child, Ruby Nell Bridges, on November 14, 1960. It is the first day black children in New Orleans would go to school with white children. There is a photo, similar to Rockwell’s painting — but the painting is better, more meaningful.
This was a major historical day in my lifetime. It rates up there with the Berlin Wall coming down.
As an educator, I appreciate Rockwell’s piece and the history — and am well-aware that we have much work to do to give all children the quality education they need to be successful.
The second one I’ll highlight is “Part III” Lincoln the Railsplitter. Again Provenzo’s description is excellent. Lincoln’s work ethic is clear. He’s a hard worker physically and as a scholar–with a plumb bob over his shoulder. While I have no desire to be in politics, I can learn much from Lincoln as a railsplitter, scholar, and thinker. (I also chose this one because, for me, it is a lesser-known Normal Rockwell work.)
The painting also reminds me of one of my favorite Lincoln quotes:
“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.”
More: the NY Times had a nice article ‘Norman Rockwell, the Storyteller’ here.