Thursday, April 1, 2010


It's that time again. Today's National Census Day.

We saw this painting on our trip to The Norman Rockwell Museum last spring. Like most of Rockwell's paintings, it was much more impressive in real life. I found myself, more than once, gasping at the simple beauty of these unassuming scenes or chuckling out loud as I walked around the gallery, the images were sometimes just so funny. The painting above was one of my favorites, since the large, red headed woman in the middle has obviously lost track of how many children she's given birth to. Some of her kids (they're obviously hers... look at their hair) are peeking out from behind her back and she has to take a second to think about it and count them on her plump fingers. I think the painting that hung in the museum showed more of the woman and her children, more of the details Rockwell painstakingly added to all his works. And, if I am not mistaken, the census taker was actually a separate painting altogether, placed over the woman and covering part of her for the purposes of fitting him on the magazine cover above. But, anyway, I love Rockwell's art for so many reasons. Rockwell did such a good job of documenting our thoroughly American lives, his paintings now allow history lovers, like me, to look back at the last several decades and review our country's more modern history, almost step by step. And, just as they did for the generation who received them on brand new editions of The Saturday Evening Post, Rockwell's art allows us to really see ourselves and celebrate the beauty and humor that often fill our everyday lives.

No comments: