Magazine article The Saturday Evening Post

More Than Meets the Eye

Magazine article The Saturday Evening Post

More Than Meets the Eye

Article excerpt

AT FIRST GLANCE, the subject of this painting seems obvious--a self-portrait of the beloved cover artist at a loss for ideas. That's how most historians describe the picture. He is, after all, staring at a blank canvas with the due date looming. But here, as in most of Rockwell's artwork, there's more to the painting than initially meets the eye.

The real issue Rockwell was subtly illustrating was not deadline pressure, but the challenges of parenting. Notice anything wrong with the scene? Look closely around the artist's feet. His brush handles are lying in clumps of paint, his sketches are underfoot, his empty matchbook is on the floor behind him, and his maulstick (used to support the hand while painting) is beneath the chair and out of reach. No wonder one wing of his collar appears to be about to take flight! Why were his tools in disarray? He had three sons under the age of 8, that's why. …

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