In the middle of all the All-Star action this past weekend we decided to take a moment and visit the North Carolina Museum of Art – specifically the American Chronicles: The Art of Norman Rockwell exhibit.

I know – a little culture in the middle of a lot of sports doesn’t always seem to fit but it was the last weekend for the exhibit and I’m glad we made it in before it closed. Norman Rockwell was largely a commercial artist doing advertisements and most notably covers for The Saturday Evening Post.

You may be thinking right now – I can’t wait to see the pictures. Well – look to the right and enjoy. Photography was not allowed in the exhibit so that is as good as it gets. Not that you can’t find all of my favorites online anyway – like this one, this one, this one, and this one. You can see all The Post covers that were in the exhibit here. The realism and attention to detail are unbelievable.

One of my favorite pieces in the exhibit were the illustrations of the Four Freedoms from President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1941 State of the Union Address that inspired the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights. The very simple yet very important concept that everyone deserves Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion, Freedom from Want and Freedom from Fear. The accompanying art by Norman Rockwell captures these ideas in a simple yet timeless elegance. (It also sold War Bonds he was a commercial artist to the end.)

The exhibit was probably being packed up today getting ready to move to another city. I’m glad we took a short break in the hockey action to see these awesome pieces of art and to reflect on the freedoms that let us have both great art and awesome sports weekends. Enjoy the links and in case you are interested I posted a large chuck of the FDR “Four Freedoms” speech after the jump.

Somehow I completely forgot about this piece. I don’t think it ever ran on the cover the of the Saturday Evening Post but it is by far the one I identify with the most. I feel that way a lot when I am sitting down trying to design a website. I may have to get a print of this one and hang it in my room to remind me I am not alone when I can’t think of what to put on the page.

In the future days, which we seek to make secure, we look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.

The first is freedom of speech and expression—everywhere in the world.

The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way–everywhere in the world.

The third is freedom from want—which, translated into world terms, means economic understandings which will secure to every nation a healthy peacetime life for its inhabitants—everywhere in the world.

The fourth is freedom from fear—which, translated into world terms, means a world-wide reduction of armaments to such a point and in such a thorough fashion that no nation will be in a position to commit an act of physical aggression against any neighbor—anywhere in the world.

That is no vision of a distant millennium. It is a definite basis for a kind of world attainable in our own time and generation. That kind of world is the very antithesis of the so-called new order of tyranny which the dictators seek to create with the crash of a bomb.

— Franklin D. Roosevelt, excerpted from the State of the Union Address to the Congress, January 6, 1941

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