Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Roots of the Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving

You can have your Martha Stewart Thanksgiving(tm) with the Aleppo pepper-rubbed roast turkey if you wish, but give me the good, old-fashioned, Norman Rockwell version any day. Rockwell’s classic painting (detail above, full picture here) of Grandma lugging in the gigantic bird on a platter as the patriarch awaits his carving duties and the surrounding adults and kids drool in anticipation will always be the quintessential image of Thanksgiving to me. And, yet, when Rockwell painted that iconic scene, it was March 1943—months away from Thanksgiving. The painting, titled Freedom from Want belongs to a series of works Rockwell titled the Four Freedoms after President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1941 State of the Union address in which FDR outlined what he saw as the four essential freedoms that all people in the world should enjoy. When you look for the roots of the Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving, you won’t find it in the stuffing or the cranberries (and certainly not in an Aleppo pepper rub)—they’re in the simple idea of human, not just American, freedom. Please come over to Picture This at Big Think to read more of "The Roots of the Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving."

[Image: Norman Rockwell. Freedom from Want (detail) from the Four Freedoms series, 1943. (Image source.)]


Hels said...

That is absolutely true! I don't know the first thing about Thanksgiving, don't know when it is or what it stands for.

But I do know a meaningful painting when I see one. Freedoms of speech, religion, want and fear. Rockwell's Freedom from Want painting is just as powerful now as it was in 1943.

Samantha Broadhead said...

I think what I love the most about Rockwell's illustrations is how they make you feel as if you are catching a glimps into the everyday life of his subjects. Of course it's idealized (on purpose) but it reminds me of the work of my favorite artist Vermeer in that he too depicted his genre subjects in a realistic and yet picturesque manner.