Norman Rockwell (1894-1978): Golden Rule,  Story

Norman Rockwell (1894-1978): Golden Rule, Story

6/12/2021, 3:24:28 PM
Norman Rockwell (1894-1978): Golden Rule, Story illustration for The Saturday Evening Post, April 1, 1961, Oil on canvas, 44 1/2” x 39 1/2”, Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, Massachusetts, USA Norman Rockwell was one of the most sought-after illustrators of the mid-twentieth century, as well as one of the most iconic American artists of all time. When he began creating commissions for The Saturday Evening Post in 1916, his work would reach millions of Americans, touched by the artist’s trademark wit and warmth. In the 1960s, the mood of the country was changing, and Rockwell’s opportunity to be rid of the art intelligentsia’s claim that he was old-fashioned was on the horizon. His 1961 'Golden Rule' was a precursor to the type of subject he would soon illustrate. A group of people of different religions, races and ethnicity served as the backdrop for the inscription “Do Unto Other as You Would Have Them Do Unto You.” Rockwell was a compassionate and liberal man, and this simple phrase reflected his philosophy. Having traveled all his life and been welcomed wherever he went, Rockwell felt like a citizen of the world, and his politics reflected that value system. I’d been reading up on comparative religion. The thing is that all major religions have the Golden Rule in Common. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Not always the same words but the same meaning.–Norman Rockwell, The Norman Rockwell Album. After preliminary sketches, he remembered an earlier piece, United Nations, that had never been completed. He found the unfinished 10-foot-long charcoal in the cellar and hauled it upstairs to his studio. “I had tried to depict all the peoples of the world gathered together,” Rockwell said. “That was just what I wanted to express about the Golden Rule.” Some portraits were repainted from the original charcoal. Others were created afresh, using neighbors as models. (Norman Rockwell Museum) (The Saturday Evening Post)

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