18 November 2010


Smackdown Interlude

Ever since I started doing tournament brackets, I've always managed (by accident or by design) to skip a week. For the Norman Rockwell Painting Smackdown, consider today the lost Thursday. =P

But because I know you all love Rockwell, here is a mini face-off to tide you over until it comes time for the Final Four to rumble.

Last week, The Runaway beat Breaking Home Ties by a single vote. Let's see how these two paintings fare against each other . . .

And Daniel Boone Comes to Life on the Underwood Portable
Forgotten Facts about George Washington

These two Rockwells are very different from any of the paintings I've put up for consideration before now. They're very "night time," and Rockwell is more of a "daytime" artist. At last: shadows! I love all the contrasts in the first painting: that is definitely how we see a frontier hero compared to our more civilised (maybe even citified) selves. And I was surprised by the unexpected edge of sensuality in the second painting: that is definitely not how we see the venerable founder of a nation! LOL!

Vote, vote, vote, vote, vote!!!
The combox is hungry and wants to be fed!
And yes, it counts as an extra entry for the "100+ Followers, 10+ Friends" Giveaway!

PS--It has just occurred to me that the uncharacteristic dark colours in Girl at Mirror are completely to "blame" for the discussion we had at the end of Round 1. Is the girl Young Orual or isn't she? Does the painting depict the seeds of vanity or innocent girlish longings?

PPS--In case you haven't figured it out (and of course I'm going to spill a bean or two), I'm "skipping" this week on purpose. Oooooh! What do you suppose I'm about? ;-)

Image Sources: a) And Daniel Boone Comes to Life on the Underwood Portable, b) Forgotten Facts about George Washington


Irena @ This Miss Loves to Read said...

I vote for Forgotten Facts about George Washington! I just love the intimacy of it, and the setting. Also, her dress is lovely. I like gowns, what can I say. His cape is not half bad, either.:)

This is such a fun way of getting to know this artist!

Sullivan McPig said...

Forgotten Facts about George Washington!
I agree with Irena about the intimacy.

Enbrethiliel said...


Irena: I'm glad you're enjoying this series! =) Since I'm not an expert on either art in general or Norman Rockwell in particular, this has been a learning experience for me, too. I just hope that I'm not too poor a guide!

Thanks for your vote! It's another entry, too. ;-)

Sully: There's something unusually sexy about it, isn't there? ;-) Not your typical Rockwell!

EegahInc said...

I'll go with George too. For what's it worth, my teachers back in art school loathed, and I mean loathed, Rockwell, claiming that his technique was sloppy and that he was really an illustrator, not an arteest. Since I wanted to pass I resisted the urge to ask, "Can you teach me to paint like him anyway?"

David said...

Washington, definitely.

Also, there's nothing wrong with being an illustrator. Better a good illustrator than a stuck up arteest with great technique and a distorted sense of beauty.

Salome Ellen said...

Unanimous so far -- George by at least two lengths.....

(And oh, my goodness!: the word verification is an actual word -- lilies!

Lesa said...

George, for sure! If I'd seen it in a different context, I wouldn't have realised it was a Rockwell.

I don't go in for all that snooty arteest jazz either-- illustrations, graphic design, comic books, animation-- it is all art.

Michael said...

I'm placing my money on Mr. Washington. Both warriors but one we get to see in a way that is totally different from his usual perception. The sensuality beats the dark adventurer hands down.


Love gowns and capes (and hats too!)

Paul Stilwell said...

GW baby!

I'm a snob!

pennyyak said...

Every time (yes, each and every time) I think about G.W. I remember when I read he had wooden teeth, although I really think they were bone or something.

But, if I could forget that (and I can't), that's a subtly sexy picture. I would like to own a print, but I'm not terribly certain where to put it so my mom wouldn't see it.

Enbrethiliel said...


Wow. George and Martha Washington are really smacking Daniel Boone down! I won't even have to count the votes next week. (By the way, the post has been edited so that I mention last week's winner.)

Eegahinc: An Art teacher loathing Rockwell is like . . . well, I can't think of an analogy right now, but you bet I'll be brainstorming all day. Sure, he wasn't a Great Master or anything, but that's really beside the point with him. Putting him down for not reaching a benchmark he never aimed for is like . . . okay I'll have to think of an analogy for that as well.

David: One painting that was considered for the smackdown was The Connoisseur: it shows a man standing in front of what looks like a Jackson Pollock mess of a canvas. Yeah, it's just an illustration and not "real" art--and I'm sure it made him enemies all over the snobby art world.

Ellen: These results make me think that And Daniel Boone Comes to Life . . ., as enchanting as it is on its own, is too weak a contender for this face-off and that I should have picked something else. The Marriage License, maybe? . . . Or not?

Lesa: I didn't think it was by Rockwell, either!!! My biggest worry was that I'd post it and all my commenters would say, "Uh, Enbrethiliel . . . that's not a Rockwell!!!"--and then, to save face I'd have to say, "I knew that! I was just punking you!" Or something. LOL!

Michael: It's nice to see you again. =) I hope you've been well! Thanks for voting.

Stiwell: Poor you, the underdog in combox full of snob haters. =P Thanks for being a good sport.

Penny: You know, that came to mind the first time I saw the painting. I don't remember if his wooden dentures gave him bad breath or anything (a la Clark Gable), but they can't have been very romantic either way! Maybe we can all just refrain from looking up the history and believe that when he was courting Martha, nobody guessed he'd someday have to wear falsies?

Enbrethiliel said...


Postscript to Stilwell:

It has just occurred to me that you had a lengthier, wordier comment ready that would have proclaimed your art snobbery just as effectively as the concise admission you published instead!

Am I right? =P

Paul Stilwell said...

Yep. I mean, I didn't have it all written out, but was making my circles of the camp when I said, ah, faggedaboudit!

But you, I'm not one of those that loathe him or say that it's not art.

Paul Stilwell said...

"But you" ---> "know"

Michael said...

Yup doing good. Started my around the world traveling. In Eastern Europe at the moment but check in from time to time. You have written some good stuff in previous posts, I just didn't comment.

mrsdarwin said...

Oh, George Washington, no question. The other is fine, but George here holds your attention.

Enbrethiliel said...


Oh, my! George is totally owning this without even trying!!!

CMinor said...

Though it's hopeless, I'll throw Dan'l Boone a bone! I like the use of the lamp and the seriousness with which the young aspiring author approaches his task.

Also, the young lady in Washington (Miss Sally Cary before she became Fairfax, I presume?)looks a bit alarmed. George, you dawg!

Suburbanbanshee said...

Both pictures look hugely influenced by N.C. Wyeth. (Not that that's a bad thing!)

Enbrethiliel said...


CMinor: Awww, a pity vote? =P

You know I had the introduction to this week's smackdown post all ready, and it went: "By the time George Washington was done with him, Daniel Boone was nothing but a bloodstain on my monitor . . ." I guess I'll be rewriting that now. LOL!

Suburbanbanshee: I have no idea who Wyeth is, though I've probably seen him around and not know it.

EegahInc said...

Come to think of it, my art teachers weren't so big on the Wyeth clan either.

I know, I know, I'm just being trouble, aren't I? Judging by the Wyeth books on my shelf I certainly didn't agree with them, I just always found it fascinating how vicious the art crowd could get towards those who achieved a certain amount of populist appeal.

Enbrethiliel said...


I'll see your art trouble and raise you some movie trouble!

The movie crowd can be a bit like the art crowd, you know. =P I still can't forget Barb Nicolosi's reactions to the Lord of the Rings and Pirates of the Caribbean trilogies. Well, okay, both examples had sequels that didn't quite live up to the first movies; but I think she damned them on principle.

And then I think about the year the two hottest contenders for the Best Picture Oscar were Annie Hall and Star Wars . . . Maybe it was a good thing Star Wars lost: to have had both popular and critical acclaim would have made its success unforgivable.

CMinor said...


No, I really did like the painting. And I still think George is stealing that kiss.

N. C. Wyeth was an illustrator whose career preceded Rockwell's by a couple of decades. He illustrated editions of a number of classic novels, including several of R. L. Stevenson's. (I tried to find a current reissuing of Treasure Island with his illustrations last year, but couldn't, darn it! I've seen a couple of the color plates and they're wonderful.) Anyway, I think Banshee is right--there are some similarities there. Wyeth's work vividly portrayed action, and his themes often included history and adventure stories.

Enbrethiliel said...


It is pretty good on its own. I love the contrast between the very physical Boone and the nerdish writer myself. It just doesn't have much luck next to George, does it? =P

(Yeah, I agree he's stealing that kiss!)