Monday, February 07, 2011
A scene that looks like Norman Rockwell's America reminds me of Mr. Rockwell's life. His paintings were delightfully cheerful. They depicted a hopeful place, even when dealing with racism. And yet his personal life was anything but ideal. His first marriage ended in divorce, back in 1930 when divorce was rare. His family moved to Stockbridge, Massachusetts, not for the quaint scenery, but so that they could be near the psychiatric hospital where his wife was treated. He himself received psychiatric care. His second wife died unexpectedly when he was in his mid-60's. He then married a third time.
Amid all of this pain, he brought much joy to others with his thousands of painting.
Was he a phony? In a sense we're all phonies, but I prefer thinking that he chose to emphasize the joy, not the sadness; that the happy places and people he painted helped him cope with the sadness around him.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
For other people's thoughts about this photo, click here.