Norman Rockwell Essay

1027 words - 5 pages

Can you recall any billboard, flyer, poster, or magazine cover issued over a year ago? If you can, consider how that’s possible. Was it humorous, heart warming, or perhaps nostalgic? Was it something you could relate to in a personal way? Now consider the man or woman behind that commercial. Most of us may never consider the creators of said advertisements to be “artists”. Such was the struggle of the iconic American painter, Norman Rockwell. He is perhaps known best for his magazine covers on the Saturday Evening Post. He also illustrated books, posters, catalogs, magazines, and advertisements. Those images were so popular, they were copied into postcards and miniatures that could be found ...view middle of the document...

” 2Rockwell’s paintings often depict the “joys of childhood, the clumsiness of adolescence, the responsibility of adulthood, and the virtue of family and culture.”3His sincere interest lead a remarkable degree of definition and merging of characters into a story. He invites you to enjoy his point of view.
Rockwell’s paintings imitate two different styles. The first is traditional Victorian. His paintings are often pretty, sentimental, well-done, and tied to the past. The second, reflects the changes taking place in the 1930’s: striking silhouettes backed by simple geometric shapes, like squares and circles. Rockwell used models for each of his pictures. He would set people and props exactly the way he wanted, then went about creating sketches out of charcoal and pencil. I use the term “sketch” lightly, because some of these black and white prototypes look very much like black and white photographs. This is how detailed and real his art appeared. Once a sketch was complete, he would recreate the story with oil paint on canvas. Oil painting enabled Rockwell to blend colors and add intricate details that acrylics could not. In Rockwell’s paintings, the viewer can see the stark ruffles in a dress or uniform due to the degree of intricate lines and shadows. This is also evident in the wrinkles of clothing. While shadows may be seen in clothes, or directly under a person’s body, there is usually no clear light source. In most of his paintings, Rockwell chooses a blended appearance of light over the whole scene. While these visual elements can be found in any of his paintings, it is Rockwell’s signature elements, line, shape and space, that tell the story. His characters are developed through their posture and facial expressions. Posture can be developed through shape and space, and details like facial expressions or hair styles stand out with use of line.
 Through the ages Rockwell’s paintings were slightly changing. His paintings reflected the life and times of America, and some very significant changes occurred in Norman’s lifetime from...

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