Day in the Life of a Little Boy by Norman Rockwell
May 24, 1952 Issue of The Saturday Evening Post
Day in the Life of a Little Boy, a Norman Rockwell painting, appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post published May 24, 1952. This is yet another timeless favorite of Rockwell collectors, a classic for all the ages.
This painting was Rockwell's 272nd overall out of 322 total paintings that were published on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post. Rockwell's career with the Post spanned 47 years, from his first cover illustration, Boy With Baby Carriage in 1916 to his last, Portrait of John F. Kennedy, in 1963.
This was also the third cover for The Post in 1952. In 1952, there were five Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post covers published.
The location of the original oil on canvas painting is not known. The original painting was donated to a community group raffle. It sold for fifty cents and has not been seen since.
This painting also appears in three Rockwell commentary books. It appears:
Many of the photographs used in the painting of this illustration, as well as the painting itself, are reproduced in Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera by Ron Schick on pages 126 through 129.
I have seen pristine original copies of this magazine cover sell for big bucks on eBay. And to think it only cost fifteen cents originally! And it was mint condition then, too.
Day in the Life of a Little Boy
This painting, actually a series of twenty-four narrative paintings, is very aptly named. Rockwell continues this theme with Day in the Life of a Little Girl.
The story told in the painting begins with the boy still sleeping. He is joined in slumber by his little puppy.
Then the little boy's day starts as he wakes up and brushes his teeth and brushes his hair in the mirror and heads downstairs.
He reads his comic book, fascinated, while also eating his cereal and drinking his milk.
The painting was published in May, so he is still in school, just before his summer vacation. The next panel shows the boy wearing his baseball cap, trudging to school with a determined, but not too happy, expression on his face.
Next we see him reading and studying at school. His bottom lip is somewhat poked out and his concentration is evident. He holds his head in his hand.
The next panel shows him enjoying his lunch break at school, still reading his comic book, still fascinated.
Next we see him studying again, with the same expression as before. The next picture show him distracted by a bird singing in the window.
In a reference to an earlier Saturday Evening Post cover painting, the boy is required to write "Knowledge Is Power" on the whiteboard. We are not shown how many times he has to write the phrase.
Finally the school day is over. He runs out the door with his books over his shoulder. He is putting his baseball cap back on his head.
The next three pictures show the progress of his baseball game. In the first picture, he is waiting for his pitch. The next picture shows the pitch coming in too close for his preference. The next picture shows him arguing with the catcher who apparently was also the umpire and is calling the boy out.
All is not lost, though. The next picture in Day in the Life of a Little Boy shows the boy noticing a little girl walking by. She is pretending not to notice him.
Next we see the boy whistling and walking fast to catch up with the little girl. She is glancing back at him. In the next picture, the little romance starts to bloom as we see him carrying her books and talking to her.
Then it's time to go to the drug store for a soda. After enjoying two drinks apiece along with each other's company, they decide to share one final soda. This part is one of the cutest parts in the whole composition. Their foreheads and their hands are touching as they share the final soda with two straws.
The bottom line of five pictures shows the end of the boy's day after he returns home.
We see the boy brushing his hair again, getting ready for dinner. Next we see him eating his dinner. He has donned a necktie for the occaison. His puppy is trying to get a bite of his mashed potatoes.
In the next panel Norman Rockwell shows the boy dutifully doing his homework, still wearing his necktie. He is holding his head in hand, just as in the two school studying panels.
Day in the Life of a Little Boy was only one of 322 Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post covers; Here is the list of Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post cover illustrations.
Here is the complete list of all Norman Rockwell magazine covers.
After that,+- we see the little boy in his blue and white striped pajamas. He is watching a little television with his puppy before bed.
The last panel ends the composition where it began. The little boy is in bed fast asleep, joined by his loyal little puppy.
Norman Rockwell's Day in the Life of a Little Boy (1952)
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Do you have a personal story about this painting? Do you know the model personally? Do you have a different take on the commentary?
Norman Rockwell Quotes:
I'll never have enough time to paint all the pictures I'd like to.
No man with a conscience can just bat out illustrations. He's got to put all his talent and feeling into them!
Some people have been kind enough to call me a fine artist. I've always called myself an illustrator. I'm not sure what the difference is. All I know is that whatever type of work I do, I try to give it my very best. Art has been my life.
Right from the beginning, I always strived to capture everything I saw as completely as possible.
The secret to so many artists living so long is that every painting is a new adventure. So, you see, they're always looking ahead to something new and exciting. The secret is not to look back.
I can take a lot of pats on the back. I love it when I get admiring letters from people. And, of course, I'd love it if the critics would notice me, too.
You must first spend some time getting your model to relax. Then you'll get a natural expression.
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