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Saying Grace

Painting, 1951, 102×107 cm

Description of the artwork «Saying Grace»

When in 1955, the magazine "The Saturday Evening Post" conducted a survey of its readers, some illustration Norman Rockwell they like most, the majority mentioned picture "Drinking prayer". This work was written in Thanksgiving and for many years remained the personification of the Holy for Americans celebration.

Published in the journal in 1951 illustration by Norman Rockwell accurately conveyed the atmosphere of the postwar period in America and was accompanied by the text: "Our world is not the happy place these days". The second World war turned the minds of men, and proved once again how "all is illusive in this world raging". After the world of chaos came confusion, fear, and hopelessness – the inexorable consequences of the war. Painting by Rockwell has answered many questions for Americans: how, through violence and brutality to keep the faith in love and kindness and where to get the strength again to trust people and look to the future with hope? Reply liked by many Americans is a source of strength the artist sees in a heartfelt prayer of gratitude for the gift of life.

The idea of the story came through one of the readers of "The Saturday Evening Post". In 1950, Mrs. Earl, in his letter described the scene, the eyewitness of which she became. She brightly told me how her eyes in the cafe ran cheerful young woman with a little mischievous boy. The pair immediately drew the attention of all visitors with its joyful and excited mood. When they are pleased with herself, sat down at the table, had no qualms crowded hall and neighbors at the table for a few minutes, frozen in prayer. Then they are encouraged to set your lunch.

Impressed with the story, Rockwell wrote that scene so realistically, as if he saw her, just for emphasis, instead of a young woman the artist has depicted her grandmother with her grandson.

Every time the artist hit on the idea, they took possession of a pathological passion for excellence and the painting "drinking prayer", like many others, was carefully planned.

At first the scene was played in a cafe on Time square in Manhattan. Being unhappy made there photos, Rockwell chooses a cafe at the station, and to accurately portray the situation, he even brought tables and chairs from the cafe in my Studio (the first version of the picture).

The insatiable desire of authenticity forced him to take a picture of the courtyard of the railway station in Rensellaer near new York, which on the final version you can see outside the window.

In the work on the painting Rockwell, as usual, plays the role of the Director of the play: he creates a scene, picks of models, entourage and in addition to preparatory sketches makes hundreds of photos. He believed that the photo is very well conveys the spontaneity and expression. In this painting Rockwell even used the technique photographers "deep focus," in which the first and second plans transferred with Hyper-realistic clarity. For the painting the artist posed his favorite model: a young man, sitting with his back to the window, the eldest son of the artist, Jerry beside him at the table a cigarette sits a disciple of Rockwell, don Winslow.

The Norman Rockwell painting "drinking prayer" was the most expensive piece of American realist art - in 2013 it was sold at Sotheby's for $ 46 million.

Author: Irina Oleh
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About the artwork

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Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Genre scene

Style of art: Realism

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1951

Size: 102×107 cm

Artwork in selections: 18 selections

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