Norman RockwellWritten by Scott Dreyer
In the fall of 2019, I told my students about Normal Rockwell (1894-1978), a prolific American artist whose career spanned some fifty years. Among his more famous works are "Four Freedoms," based off a speech that President Franklin Roosevelt gave in January 1941. That was a crucial time in history, because Nazi Germany had invaded Poland in September 1939 and began World War II, but the US would not join that conflict until December 1941, when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.
Rockwell was famous for painting nostalgic images from daily life. He painted almost his whole life long. After illustrating for some children's books at age 16, the Boy Scouts hired him to be art director for their magazing, Boys' Life. Rockwell was so talented, just six years later he was hired by the most famous American magazine of the day, The Saturday Evening Post, to illustrate their covers. Over the next 47 years, he painted an amazing 321 covers for that magazine. But Rockwell was not only an artist; he was also a social commentator, because he boldly tackled controversial issues such as religion, race, and individual freedoms. (source) In October 2019 some of my students were explaining why they liked taking English classes with DreyerCoaching.com, and Lucy in Beijing said this: "In this class I can learn about Normal Rockwell and life in America, things I would not learn if I took classes in normal cram schools."
You can learn more about the background of the Four Freedoms paintings here.
You can view close-ups of these paintings and even buy copies here. Examine each carefully. What do you see? Why do you think Rockwell included each detail? What is the message of each?
One of these paintings reflects Freedom of Speech. That freedom is a cherished American liberty; it is so precious and valuable, the First Amendment to the US Constitution guarantees its protection. Find out more about Freedom of Speech here.
A licensed teacher in the US state of Virginia since 1987, Scott Dreyer has been helping Chinese speakers improve their English since 1989. Dreyer lived in Taiwan from 1989-1999 where he learned Mandarin, met his wife, started his family, and realized he loved working with Chinese students. He became an award-winning author and started teaching ESL online in 2008. Dreyer and his wife and their four adult children make their home in the beautiful Roanoke Valley in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.dreyercoaching.com/en/about/scott-dreyer
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