Tuesday, September 15, 2009

May 20, 1916- Rockwells First Saturday Evening Post Cover

"The Baby Carriage"

Norman Rockwell's first Saturday Evening Post cover was different from that of other Post artists. For example, Rockwell used real people as models, he did not just concoct a "situation". Rockwell took much of what he learned from his beloved teacher George Bridgman from the Art Students League. Bridgman wrote a book titled "The Human Machine" which was an illustrated treatise on the musles and motions of the body. Norman Rockwell poured over this book in order to understand the the motor cause and effect. You can notice in this cover that the figures move naturally. The baby-sitter pushes against the carriage with proper displacement. All the boys "fit" into the composition without appearing to be "squeezed" in, and Rockwell is pictorially aware of the post requirements of its logo, parallel bars and bottom cover lines.

The Post was done in duotone, only in two colors, red and black until 1926, which is when Rockwell painted the first color cover. Duotone challenged the artists to capture the magazine buyers eye with red to black, and then lead the eye through graduations of emotion and tone, which was in fact restricted by using just the two colors. In this cover the overstating of facial expressions display a sense of humor based on convincing emotions which is more than American magazines has yet witnessed.

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