Boy with Stereoscope by Norman Rockwell
January 14, 1922 Issue of The Saturday Evening Post
Boy with Stereoscope, this Norman Rockwell painting, appeared on the cover of The Saturday Evening Post published January 14, 1922.
The alternate title for this painting is The Sphinx.
This painting was Rockwell's forty-fourth overall pictureout of 322 featured on the cover of The 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.
It was also the first Rockwell cover in 1922. The Post featured a Rockwell illustration on its cover ten times in 1922.
The location of the original painting is not known. A pencil and watercolor on paper study of the painting is part of the collection of the Norman Rockwell Museum of Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
This illustration has been reproduced in four Rockwell commentary books, on page 29 of The Norman Rockwell Album, as illustration 58 of Norman Rockwell's America by Christopher Finch, as illustration 146 of Norman Rockwell: Artist and Illustrator by Thomas Buechner and on page 88 of Norman Rockwell, A Definitive Catalogue by Laurie Norton Moffatt.
Most of the early Norman Rockwell Saturday Evening Post covers are hard to find in excellent condition. Scarcity and demand drive price. I have seen this original cover sell for more than one hundred dollars at auction.
Boy with Stereoscope
In this painting, Norman Rockwell shows us one method of indoor entertainment employed during the winter months.
This illustration appeared on the Post cover in January 1922, during the cold of winter. Then, as now, indoors was more comfortable than outdoors.
This boy is dressed for playing indoors. He is not wearing old clothes suitable for playing outdoors.
Two things are notable about the boy's attire.
First, notice the knee protectors. They are holding his knee socks up. They also would keep him from wearing out his clothes while scuttling about on the floor.
The second oddity apparent with his clothing: look at the collar and cuffs on his shirt. Somewhat frilly, don't you think? I think this speaks to the boy's age. Seemingly, he is younger than most of Rockwell's models in other pictures.
Boy with Stereoscope 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.
His amusement with the stereoscope and its images are captured in his pursed lips and arched eyebrows. The Sphinx was still a source of excitement.
The other pictures at the bottom left show us that the Sphinx in question is the Egyptian Sphinx, the Great Sphinx of Giza. One of the pictures shows the tip of the pyramid behind the Sphinx.
His dog waits patiently for him to finish. The dog just wishes that the boy would finish with that distraction and play with him.
(Image Only) Copyright © 1922 Saturday Evening Post & Curtis Publishing Company
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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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