Wednesday, February 03, 2010
Artist of the month; Norman Rockwell
Since today is Norman Rockwell's 116th birthday, this tiny corner of the internet will celebrate his lifes work and acheivements and dedicate the month of February, 2010, to one of the greatest illustrators of the twentieth century.
When I attended LJMU and KIAD, I met a lot of people (read tutors) who regarded Rockwell as quaint, and 'old hat'. There seemed to be a contention that Rockwell belonged to an age when people were ignorant of social and cultural issues and hindsight had granted a clarity of vision lacking from Rockwell, his work and his peers. I could not but disagree and then as now I argued that Rockwell's detractors were unable to distinguish between style and substance, for whilst the style of Norman Rockwell's art might be deemed old fashioned and no longer en vogue, the subject matter in his more known works has a greater clarity of social and cultural issues, by far, than most modern illustrators/artists. Norman Rockwell spoke with eoloquence and he spoke well. There is no mistaking his pride in his nation, nor in the fact that his patriotism is wholly benign.
The fact that Rockwell was so good at painting is also, I find, a reason for why he is so often overlooked or dismissed by todays artistic elite. Art has moved beyond itself and what passes for 'good art' now is as often as not 'bad art'; that is to say art that does not reflect the human condition. You may say what you like about Norman Rockwell, but his art most certainly does reflect the human condition. Even if it is distorted slightly by his national pride and cultural bias, his ability to describe human beings, in all their many facets, is brilliant.
Happy Birthday Norman.