Thursday, November 27, 2014

Norman's View

Today is my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving.  And what is the most famous vision of Thanksgiving?  I think it's Norman Rockwell's iconic painting:

It's entitled "Freedom From Want" and is one of his "Four Freedoms" paintings.  But the closer we look, the odder it gets.

It's been condemned as a depiction of Americans stuffing themselves while so much of the world starves. But look at that spread.  Not much, is it.  Yeah, grandma is putting down a nice turkey, but there's not too much else on the table.  You've got a bowl of fruit, though for all we know they're plastic. There's a mound of cranberry sauce, or maybe aspic, though whatever it is it doesn't look too appetizing.  Some wilted stalks of celery and behind them some pickles or something?  A covered bowl that may or may not hold any food.  A salt and pepper shaker.  Then there's a cup of something yellow--couldn't be mustard, could it?  And what's everyone drinking?  Water. That's the best they could manage?

But what makes the painting is that immaculate, white table, and the faces of the people.  Notice no one seems much concerned with the turkey.  They're all looking at each other and smiling. Maybe someone told a dirty joke, and they figure as long as grandpa doesn't have his hearing aid in we're okay. Or maybe they're saying "wow, some actual food--and I'm afraid to raise the lid on the bowl because if that's not mashed potatoes I may go crazy."

Finally, there's the masterstroke--that guy in the bottom right-hand corner looking at us.  He breaks through the painting and makes it a different experience.  He's completely in on the joke, whatever it is. Maybe he's telling Norman to finish the painting already--it looks good enough, no need to put more chow on the table.

6 Comments:

Blogger ColumbusGuy said...

Awfully vain, aren't you? What makes you think he's looking at you? That expression, he's probably looking at his sister-in-law's cleavage. Somebody had to be taking the photo. (Normal Rockwell as Cindy Sherman.)

4:10 AM, November 27, 2014  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why are all hunched (except for grandma, grandpa and creepy looking away guy (a prototype vegan?))

6:30 AM, November 27, 2014  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe they're on squatty-potties.

2:35 PM, November 27, 2014  
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