THE FOUR FREEDOMS

THE FOUR
FREEDOMS

In the years since then, those four freedoms
freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear
have stood as a summary of our aspirations for the American Republic and for the world.

The four freedoms refer to President Franklin D. Roosevelt's January 1941 Four Freedoms State of
the Union address in which he identified essential human rights that should be universally protected.

The four freedoms refer to President Franklin D. Roosevelt's January 1941 Four Freedoms State of the Union address in which he identified essential human rights that should be universally protected.

The Four Freedoms is a series of four 1943 oil paintings
by the American artist, Norman Rockwell

The Four Freedoms is a series of
four 1943 oil paintings
by the American artist,
Norman Rockwell

Freedom Of Speech

Freedom of Speech is the first in a series of Four Freedoms. Freedom of Speech depicts a scene of a local town meeting in which Jim Edgerton, the lone dissenter to the town selectmen's announced plans to build a new school, was accorded the floor as a matter of protocol. The old school had burned down. Once he envisioned this scene to depict freedom of speech, Rockwell decided to use his Vermont neighbors as models for a Four Freedoms series. The blue-collar speaker wears a plaid shirt and suede jacket. He has dirty hands and a darker complexion than others in attendance. The other attendees are wearing white shirts, ties, and jackets. Although one of the men is wearing a wedding band, the speaker is not. He is shown "standing tall, his mouth open, his shining eyes transfixed, he speaks his mind, untrammeled and unafraid." Edgerton is depicted in a way that resembles Abraham Lincoln.

Freedom of Speech is the first in a series of Four Freedoms. Freedom of Speech depicts a scene of a local town meeting in which Jim Edgerton, the lone dissenter to the town selectmen's announced plans to build a new school, was accorded the floor as a matter of protocol. The old school had burned down. Once he envisioned this scene to depict freedom of speech, Rockwell decided to use his Vermont neighbors as models for a Four Freedoms series. The blue-collar speaker wears a plaid shirt and suede jacket. He has dirty hands and a darker complexion than others in attendance. The other attendees are wearing white shirts, ties, and jackets. Although one of the men is wearing a wedding band, the speaker is not. He is shown "standing tall, his mouth open, his shining eyes transfixed, he speaks his mind, untrammeled and unafraid." Edgerton is depicted in a way that resembles Abraham Lincoln.

Freedom Of Worship

Freedom of Worship is the second in a series of Four Freedoms. The painting shows the profiles of eight heads in a modest space. The various figures represent people of different faiths in a moment of prayer. Particularly, three figures on the bottom row (right to left): a man with his head covered carrying a religious book who is Jewish, an older woman who is Protestant, and a younger woman with a well-lit face holding rosary beads who is Catholic. In 1966, Rockwell used Freedom of Worship to show his admiration for John F. Kennedy in a Look story illustration entitled JFK's Bold Legacy. The work depicts Kennedy in profile in a composition similar to Freedom of Worship along with Peace Corps volunteers.

Freedom of Worship is the second in a series of Four Freedoms. The painting shows the profiles of eight heads in a modest space. The various figures represent people of different faiths in a moment of prayer. Particularly, three figures on the bottom row (right to left): a man with his head covered carrying a religious book who is Jewish, an older woman who is Protestant, and a younger woman with a well-lit face holding rosary beads who is Catholic. In 1966, Rockwell used Freedom of Worship to show his admiration for John F. Kennedy in a Look story illustration entitled JFK's Bold Legacy. The work depicts Kennedy in profile in a composition similar to Freedom of Worship along with Peace Corps volunteers.

Freedom From Want

Freedom from Want is the third in a series of Four Freedoms. The painting shows an aproned matriarch presenting a roasted turkey to a family of several generations, in Rockwell's idealistic presentation of family values. The patriarch looks on with fondness and approval from the head of the table, which is the central element of the painting. Its creased tablecloth shows that this is a special occasion for "sharing what we have with those we love", according to Lennie Bennett. The table has a bowl of fruit, celery, pickles, and what appears to be cranberry sauce. There is a covered silver serving dish that would traditionally hold potatoes, according to Richard Halpern, but Bennett describes this as a covered casserole dish. The servings are less prominent than the presentation of white linen, white plates, and water-filled glasses. The people in the painting are not yet eating, and the painting contrasts the empty plates and vacant space in their midst with images of overabundance.

Freedom from Want is the third in a series of Four Freedoms. The painting shows an aproned matriarch presenting a roasted turkey to a family of several generations, in Rockwell's idealistic presentation of family values. The patriarch looks on with fondness and approval from the head of the table, which is the central element of the painting. Its creased tablecloth shows that this is a special occasion for "sharing what we have with those we love", according to Lennie Bennett. The table has a bowl of fruit, celery, pickles, and what appears to be cranberry sauce. There is a covered silver serving dish that would traditionally hold potatoes, according to Richard Halpern, but Bennett describes this as a covered casserole dish. The servings are less prominent than the presentation of white linen, white plates, and water-filled glasses. The people in the painting are not yet eating, and the painting contrasts the empty plates and vacant space in their midst with images of overabundance.

Freedom From Fear

Freedom from Fear is the last of a series of Four Freedoms. The painting shows children resting safely in their beds, oblivious to the perils of this world, as their parents look on. Their mother tucks them in while their father holds a newspaper describing the horrors of the ongoing conflict. However, his attention is fully on his children and not on the alarming headlines. According to another view, the children are already asleep, and their parents are checking on them in their shared narrow bed before they themselves turn in for the night. The father appears as the "classic Rockwell onlooker" who serves as a viewer within the painting. Since he is holding his glasses, we assume that he has finished reading the Bennington Banner in his hand. The newspaper's headline reads "Bombings Ki ... Horror Hit", referencing the Blitz. In the background are a lit hallway and a stairway leading to the first floor.

Freedom from Fear is the last of a series of Four Freedoms. The painting shows children resting safely in their beds, oblivious to the perils of this world, as their parents look on. Their mother tucks them in while their father holds a newspaper describing the horrors of the ongoing conflict. However, his attention is fully on his children and not on the alarming headlines. According to another view, the children are already asleep, and their parents are checking on them in their shared narrow bed before they themselves turn in for the night. The father appears as the "classic Rockwell onlooker" who serves as a viewer within the painting. Since he is holding his glasses, we assume that he has finished reading the Bennington Banner in his hand. The newspaper's headline reads "Bombings Ki ... Horror Hit", referencing the Blitz. In the background are a lit hallway and a stairway leading to the first floor.

D. Roosevelt's
"Four Freedoms" speech

In his Annual Message to Congress (State of the Union Address) on January 6, 1941, Franklin Roosevelt presented his reasons for American involvement, making the case for continued aid to Great Britain and greater production of war industries at home. In helping Britain, President Roosevelt stated, the United States was fighting for the universal freedoms that all people possessed.

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