The Runaway by Norman Rockwell
June 1, 1922 Issue of Life Magazine
The Runaway, this Norman Rockwell painting, appeared on the cover of Life Magazine published June 1, 1922.
The alternate title for this illustration is Runaway Boy and Clown.
This was the twenty-fifth cover by Rockwell to appear on Life Magazine. A Rockwell painting only appeared twice on Life magazine's cover in 1922 and twenty-eight times in all.
This boy has run away from home. He will join the circus and tour the world. That is a very exciting and glamorous life. At least from the perspective of a young boy from a small town.
He has packed all his valuables and some clothes in a handkerchief, tied his bundle to an old broom handle and sit the road.
This painting was only one of 28 Norman Rockwell Life magazine covers; here is the list of more Norman Rockwell Life Magazine scans.
Here is the complete list of all Norman Rockwell magazine covers.
His new friend, the clown, is drying his tears. The clown is between performances and is still in costume. Even though the clown has a smile painted on, he is frowning. He looks genuinely concerned for the boy.
Why is the boy crying? Did the clown tell he should go back home? Are the tears an attempt to change the clown's verdict?
The clown dog is looking on sympathetically also. Maybe the boy will take some of the dog's performance load.
It is also interesting to look inside the tent that serves as the clowns' dressing room. We can see a spare clown suit hanging on the clothesline and an Indian headdress on the pole. Behind the boy is a used paper hoop that the dog has jumped through.
And there's just no telling what mysteries are inside that trunk.
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