You won’t find Norman Rockwell paintings hanging in my home. I appreciate his fine detail and devotion to displaying America’s iconic moments. I know they bring delight to many. I prefer looser broad strokes rich with color on my walls. That’s why you might find it odd that I have a small Norman Rockwell print in the corner of my desk these days. I look at it often as I write. I saw it posted on social media this spring, and it struck a chord. On the painting were the words, “Do unto to others as you would have them do unto you.” I had seen this painting at some point in the past, but when I saw it this time I looked closely at it for some time. My eye hovered over each face, drinking them all in. I confess, there may have been a tear forming in my eye. How is it that almost 60 years ago this man captured what for me is missing today?
What painting, you ask? The Golden Rule. It turns out Rockwell chose to look beyond the soda counters and Thanksgiving dinners at something larger in 1961, and The Saturday Evening Post published it on the cover.
When I look at the painting, it’s the inclusion and togetherness that strike me. It inspires with the hope of people to come together instead of apart; to treat each other as equals and not enemies. I have a feeling I will keep this print in its prominent spot on my desk for quite some time. I look at it and I am reminded of this man’s creed, painted before I was born. Thank you, Norman Rockwell, your vision didn’t end with you. It lives on in me.
Heather Greene is a teacher by day and an evening writer and art lover.
Norman Rockwell (1894-1978) was an American painter and illustrator with a style of exaggerated Realism. Golden Rule hangs in the United Nations headquarters in New York as of 2014.