Someone in the notes of the last Leyendecker post I reblogged mentioned having difficulty telling his work and Rockwell’s apart, and I know from experience that many people get them confused, which is somewhat astonishing as, to my eyes, their styles are very distinct. Leyendecker was Rockwell’s idol and mentor, but they were very different people and were interested in portraying different aspects of humanity, even when the basic subject matter was the same.
Surface-level, here are some differences:
Leyendecker smoothed out faults and imperfections (in the young. he stylized them in the old); Rockwell exaggerated them to mild or moderate caricature
Leyendecker approached his paintings as sculpture- even the merest clothing folds are carved out of the paint; Rockwell approached his paintings as drawings- the underlying contour always shines through.
Leyendecker used broad hatching brushstrokes and areas of smooth shine; Rockwell used more naturalistic texture and lighting
Leyendecker created idolized, larger-than-life figures that feel Hellenistic in their perfection; Rockwell created intimate scenes populated by figures that feel familiar in their specificity
Leyendecker’s best and most comfortable work was as a fashion/lifestyle illustrator; Rockwell’s best and most comfortable work was as an editorial/humor illustrator
Leyendecker created beautiful still lives with his figures; Rockwell told compelling stories
Leyendecker often created erotic tension in his paintings; Rockwell almost never did.
See below: Two paintings of soldiers with women, but in Rockwell’s there is a clear punchline, and while the poses are contrived for the sake of composition, they’re not self-conscious. The women are pretty- as demanded by the central joke- but not truly sexualized anywhere but in the mind of the young soldier who is being overloaded with cake and attention.
Contrast Leyendecker’s soldiers with a young nurse. Everyone in this image is posing attractively- no one has their mouth full or ears sticking out. Each crease and fold is sharp and sculptural, and the light picks out their best features- in particular the shoulders and posterior of the soldier facing away from the viewer. There is neither joke nor story, merely a group of beautiful young people, portrayed with deft brushwork and graceful lines. (and check out that hatching! That’s indicator #1 that you’ve got a Leyendecker image)
Leyendecker was very comfortable with “hot young things wearing clothes”, and did them very VERY well, but his facility with idealization came at the cost of personalization, which was fine for fashion illustration, but shows in his domestic scenes:
Beautiful, but… cold. (Also, that hand on the left- who holds a baby with their hand like that??? Good lord, J.C.) Compare a Rockwell illustration (for a baby food brand, I believe) of a mother and baby: this is clearly a real and individual young mother and baby, interacting exactly how parents and babies really interact.
Even when they did basically the same content, and putting aside posing or composition or anything other than objective visual analysis, it’s still obvious who is who:
Red: NR’s smoother rendering vs JCL’s super cool hatching
Green: NR’s naturalistic cloth folds vs JCL’s sculptural stylization
Blue: NR’s natural lighting vs JCL’s world where everything is shiny
Now go forth, confident in the knowledge that you’ll never confuse a Rockwell or a Leyendecker ever again, and can refute any claim that their styles are ‘virtually identical’.
After I took this boy’s picture, I was told by his mom how self conscious he is about his vitiligo that’s developed over the past year. She told me that he hates his lips. He avoids looking at himself in the mirror and can hardly smile in pictures because he can’t bear the thought of his “ugly” lips being preserved in photographs. Can y'all do me a favor and like or reblog this? I wanna show him this post so he can see how poppin he actually is. I want him to realize that his skin is flawless and that his vitiligo is just an additional mark of distinction to the already unique beauty that is Blackness, in all of its various shades.
in this era that we’re in, self-love is crucial and we can’t afford to have our black children facing the world with anything less than overwhelming love and pride in their skin.
When the Wright Brothers tested their flying machine, they weren’t in complete seclusion. There was a family who caught the sight of their flying plane — and with them, a young boy. Later, a reporter asked the young boy to describe the flight. And he instinctively threw his arms out and ran around making engine noises. So children have literally been pretending to be airplanes ever since the first child saw the first flight.
The world is diminished when it loses its human sayings, just as when it loses its diversity of plants and beasts.
In 1974 Angela Loij died. She was one of the last Ona Indians from Tierra del Fuego, way out there at the edge of the world. She was the last one who spoke their language.
Angela sang to herself, for no one else, in that language no longer recalled by anyone but her:
“I’m walking in the steps
of those who have gone.
Lost, am I.”
Eduardo Galeano, Children of the Days: A Calendar of Human History
In 1929 James Barrie donated all his revenues from Peter Pan to the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children in London. After Barrie died in 1937, the copyright became a major source of revenue for the hospital. Normally in the United Kingdom a copyright lasts until 50 years after the author’s death, so Peter Pan entered the public domain at the end of 1987. But in 1988 the Labour government had added a special amendment to the law governing intellectual property:
The provisions of Schedule 6 have effect for conferring on trustees for the benefit of the Hospital for Sick Children, Great Ormond Street, London, a right to a royalty in respect of the public performance, commercial publication, broadcasting or inclusion in a cable programme service of the play ‘Peter Pan’ by Sir James Matthew Barrie, or of any adaptation of that work, notwithstanding that copyright in the work expired on 31 December 1987.
So the boy who never grows up has a copyright that will never grow old – according to UK law, the Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children has a copyright which extends perpetually from 1988 onwards.
Pocket Full of Colors: The Magical World of Mary Blair, Disney Artist Extraordinaire - by Amy Guglielmo and Jacqueline Tourville, illustrated by yours truly, Brigette Barrager. A magical book about a magical lady!