29. Art and Morality

No one captured America like Rockwell. “I paint life as I would like it to be,” he once said. “If there was sadness in this creative world of mine, it was a pleasant sadness. If there were problems, they were humorous problems.”


  — quoted from www.rockwellsite.com


Probably best known for his work as a cover illustrator for The Saturday Evening Post, Norman Rockwell was America’s artist. He loved this country, and he demonstrated his passion for the American fiber by his very choice of subjects. His paintings were of ordinary people in common settings – of a child in a doctor’s office, a citizen at a town meeting, or a family seated at a Thanksgiving dinner table. His paintings spoke most always of higher things, of values that he found to be as American as — well, apple pie.


In a quiet way sort of way, Normal Rockwell taught us the importance of our heritage. And in my opinion he helped to settle the sprit and confirm that the very idea of America is a right sort of idea. Though in later years his art showed an America rife with civil rights tension, Rockwell is best known for works that spoke of the ideas of freedom, compassion, and love.


It is quite true, as I have said, that no artist ought ever deliberately to try to teach people, because that is not his business, and one can only be a good artist by minding one’s business, which is to produce beautiful things; and the moment one begins to try to produce improving things, one goes off the line.


  — Benson, Joyous Gard, Art and Morality


Day 29 Guide


This week enjoy the product of the artist’s pursuit and sense the feeling of personal change while in the presence of its beauty. Visit an art gallery or thumb through the pages of an art or a poetry book; try to experience the graceful pleasure through which art so often meets the soul.


© 2005, Levi Hill

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