The Heart of Art

As part of our celebration of my 50th birthday the other day my wife and I visited the Norman Rockwell exhibit at the Frist Center in Nashville and loved it. According to the exhibit, Rockwell was hailed as a “contemporary Currier and Ives” and “Dickens with a paintbrush” and was heralded for the realism and idealism of his portrayals of simple, small town life in America.

One of my favorite Rockwell paintings, which was not part of the exhibit but hangs at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, is the painting of his adopted hometown at Christmastime, which is pictured above. It speaks to me of the beauty of New England, the Christmas holiday, and small town living in general. Rockwell’s ability to capture the essence of any setting was unparalleled, but home even more so.

Rockwell was a master of his craft and as an artist he inspires me to create with heart the type of art that uplifts people and moves them toward their better selves. To me the artist’s legacy is so much more than the impressive quantity of his artwork; it is also the quality of the art he created with such attention to detail. Some may criticize Rockwell’s work as crass commercialism, but I think he preferred people to products and it showed in his portrayal of them.