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The four freedoms. Freedom of speech

Painting, 1943, 116×90 cm

Description of the artwork «The four freedoms. Freedom of speech»

The Norman Rockwell Painting "Freedom of speech" - one of the works of the famous series "The four freedoms" that became the symbol of the democratic aspirations of America and pride of the nation. The artist realized the huge responsibility and difficulty of the selected tasks, after three years of writing the series in an interview with the newspaper "New-Yorker" Rockwell admitted: "It was a job that was to take Michelangelo".

Rockwell decided to illustrate the famous speech of President Roosevelt in 1941 to Congress on fundamental human rights: his right to freedom of speech, freedom from want, freedom from fear and freedom of religion. This plan, as did the artist, were his life's work and, simultaneously, the biggest challenge. Finding ideas for paintings never came easily to Norman, and in this case it seemed almost impossible. The artist is constantly thinking about the President and said that his speech "sounded so damn pompous. I don't know how to do it".

In that time, Rockwell pondered the embodiment of his ideas, he took part in the meeting of the city Council. And one sleepless night it dawned upon me: he remembered how one of his neighbors spoke at the city meeting and, despite the fact that no one with him did not agree, he was given the opportunity to speak, and then the Rockwell understand is what you need! "I suddenly remembered how Jim Edgerton had stood up at a town meeting and said something that did not like all those present on it. But he was given the opportunity to speak. No one told him to shut up. Oh, God, I thought. Here it is. Freedom of speech. I will illustrate the "Four freedoms" using my Vermont neighbors as models".

And the work began. With incredible tension, the artist worked obsessively for many months and lost seven pounds. Rockwell was invited to their Studio to residents of Vermont. A friend of the artist, recalled that he treated his models like honored guests and said that the success of his paintings depend on them: "If your feel that you are their friend, not boss, and if you give them feel how important they are to the success of your paintings, they will assist you". When the people of the city offered to pose for free, the artist insisted and paid my models more than other artists, children $ 5, adults 10. After work he expressed his gratitude and gave us each a sealed envelope with a check, this courteous and friendly gesture especially liked the townspeople.

One of the preparatory works for the "Freedom of Speech" the Rockwell acquired the Metropolitan Museum of art and included in the permanent exhibition of the Department of American art. The fee was nominal – $ 100, but the artist was very excited about this news. Because the background of the universal love of the audience, the critics ignored his works, so the appearance of his paintings at the Metropolitan was an eloquent gesture of recognition of the talent of Norman Rockwell.

When the cover of the magazine "The Saturday Evening Post" appeared published "the Four freedoms", the artist received a large fee – $ 10 000, and the edition of 700 000 letters of thanks from readers.

The series of illustrations "the Four freedoms" Norman Rockwell had such phenomenal success that in 1943, the Department of U.S. Treasury announced the campaign on the sale of war bonds depicting the Four Freedoms Rockwell and collected $ 133 million.

Author: Irina Oleh
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About the artwork

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Art form: Painting

Subject and objects: Genre scene, Allegorical scene

Style of art: Realism

Technique: Oil

Materials: Canvas

Date of creation: 1943

Size: 116×90 cm

Artwork in selections: 20 selections

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