Four Freedoms by Norman Rockwell


In response to a State of the Union speech by President of the United States Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1941 in which the President articulated four essential human right that should be universally protected, Normal Rockwell produced this series of paintings. At the time, Rockwell was the most widely known and popular commercial artist in the country, though he failed to win critical acclaim from the artworld. These works have since become his most well-known, and perhaps most widely circulated works. These freedoms represent a significant departure from the protected freedoms in the country's founding documents, which are documents limiting the potential overreach of government rather than guaranteeing individual freedoms.  

Freedom of Speech

Freedom of Worship

Freedom from Want

Freedom from Fear

Reflection Questions

  1. What aspects or elements of these works communicate the sentiment of their titles? 
  2. How does the style of these works reflect the context of the time? 
  3. What elements of these works contrast to the freedoms they proclaim?
  4. In what ways is this art populist propaganda to support contemporary political agendas and in what way is it art that reflects the sentiments of US citizens?

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