Old Veteran and Boy by Norman Rockwell
July 2, 1921 Issue of The Country Gentleman
Old Veteran and Boy, this Norman Rockwell painting, appeared on the cover of The Country Gentleman published July 2, 1921.
The alternate title for this painting is The 4th.
The Country Gentleman was published by Curtis Publishing Company. Curtis Publishing also published The Saturday Evening Post.
This illustration was the thirtieth Country Gentleman cover by Norman Rockwell. Rockwell painted thirty-five covers for The Country Gentleman starting in August 1917, the first Cousin Reginald cover, and continuing through April 1922.
Old Veteran and Boy
Rockwell's 1921 Fourth of July painting is an interesting study of new and old.
On the one hand, we have the old veteran. He is wearing his Union military hat. His belt buckle also bears the same insignia. A medal is pinned to his vest.
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.
Other than that, the old veteran is wearing regular clothes. His garments do not appear to be military issue. It's likely that he could no longer fit inside the uniform he wore in younger days.
The old man is firing the gun he carried in the war. It is probably somewhat outdated by the time of this painting. Is he taking careful aim at his target? Or is he firing a salute into the air as part of a celebration? Either way he is braced for the kickback.
His expression shows that he is serious about his task.
On the other hand, the young boy is wearing typical boyclothes from the period. Patched knees and suspenders are giveaways that these clothes have been well worn by older brothers, cousins and possibly uncles and father.
We have seen the boy's straw hat several times before across a wide range of publications, including The Country Gentleman. Rockwell obviously loved painting that hat.
He shows an expression mixed with apprehension and expectancy. He is assisting the veteran by holding his powder and tools. He knows the resulting shot will be loud, but he has decided not to cover his ears.
Norman Rockwell conveys the union of old and new in this stirring painting .
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