Walking to Church by Norman Rockwell
April 4, 1953 Issue of The Saturday Evening Post
Walking to Church, a Norman Rockwell painting, appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post published April 4, 1953. This is another timeless favorite of Rockwell collectors, a classic for all the ages.
This painting was Rockwell's 276th 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 second cover for The Post in 1953. In 1953, there were four Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post covers published.
The original oil on canvas painting, 18.75 x 17.75 inches or 47.5 x 45 cm, is part of a private collection.
This painting also appears in three Rockwell commentary books. It appears:
One study also appears in the Norman Rockwell Catalogue on page 193.
Pristine original copies of this magazine cover sell for respectable sums on eBay, when it is offered. And to think it only cost fifteen cents originally! And it was mint condition then, too.
Walking to Church
Norman Rockwell thought that this painting would have turned out better had he not painted the people as caricatures.
"I see the people as real people, but I oversimplified, tried to make them too cute."
Rockwell did not caricature the family to poke fun or ridicule them. To me, the characters match the background better than Rockwell's ususal lifelike charcaters would have.
We know that the family is going to church because they all carry their Bibles. We can also see the steeple in the background. We also can see the bell ringing.
The street they are walking dow is a typical city street.
Some garbage has accumulated over the weekend.
Rooms are for rent over the beauty parlor and the restaurant. The barber shop is located in the basement uder the beauty parlor.
The Sunday newspaper is accompanied by the mornings milk deliver, three bottles at the Silver Slipper Grill and two at the beauty shop..
Walking to Church 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.
Rockwell's realism probably compelled him to include television antennas on most of the roofs.
My favorite detail is the black cat rubbing against the fire hydrant. Surely she did not cross the family's path.
Norman Rockwell's Walking to Church (1953)
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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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