Four Boys on a Sled by Norman Rockwell
December 27, 1919 Issue of The Country Gentleman
Four Boys on a Sled, this Norman Rockwell painting, appeared on the cover of The Country Gentleman published December 27, 1919.
This painting was the eighteenth Country Gentleman cover by Norman Rockwell. Rockwell illustrated thirty-five covers for The Country Gentleman starting in August 1917, the first Cousin Reginald cover, and continuing through April 1922.
This is one of Rockwell's most endearing and enduring images. It has been republished many times over the years on several other magazine covers, including The Saturday Evening Post.
The painting has been reproduced in one Rockwell commentary book. It appears on page 23 of Norman Rockwell, A Definitive Catalogue by Laurie Norton Moffatt.
The original oil on canvas painting, 52 x 42 inches or 132 x 106.5 cm, is part of the collection of Curtis Publishing Company.
Four Boys on a Sled
This painting is mis-named. It should actually be named Four Boys and a Dog on a Sled.
This painting was only one of 34 Norman Rockwell Country Gentleman covers; here is the list of more Norman Rockwell Country Gentleman scans.
Here is the complete list of all Norman Rockwell magazine covers.
The sled must be very long indeed to hold all four boys. Maybe the boy in the very back is sitting with his rear hanging of the sled. Maybe the boy in front of him is holding his feet or legs. Maybe he is sitting on the legs or feet of the boy in front. I suppose that we will never actually know how these four boys fit on this sled.
As we all know, everything else being equal, the more weight you can pile on a sled, the faster the sled should go.
This is certainly true in Rockwell's painting. The boys are really flying down the hill. And they are loving it.
Everything that can be blown back is being blown back. Scarves, dog ears and whiskers, hats and hair - all are pointing backwards.
And the dog's is the only concerned face in the bunch!
The rest of the crew are just wishing for more speed. Maybe they should try to squeeze an extra boy on the sled for their next run down the hill.
Norman Rockwell proves once again his mastery at capturing on canvas the joys of childhood.
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