Four Freedoms

Norman Rockwell

The Four Freedoms

Norman Rockwell

The Four Freedoms is a series of four 1943 oil paintings by the American artist Norman Rockwell. The paintings—Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, Freedom from Want, and Freedom from Fear—are each approximately 45.75 inches (116.2 cm) × 35.5 inches (90 cm), and are now in the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. 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.


Freedom of speech is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or a community to articulate their opinions and ideas without fear of retaliation, censorship, or legal sanction. The term freedom of expression is usually used synonymously but, in legal sense, includes any activity of seeking, receiving, and imparting information or ideas, regardless of the medium used.

Freedom of Speech painting
Freedom from Want painting


Freedom from Want, also known as The Thanksgiving Picture or I’ll Be Home for Christmas, is the third of the Four Freedoms series of four oil paintings by American artist Norman Rockwell. The works were inspired by United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1941 State of the Union Address, known as Four Freedoms.


Freedom from fear is listed as a fundamental human right according to The Universal Declaration of Human Rights. On January 6, 1941, United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt called it one of the “Four Freedoms” at his State of the Union, which was afterwards therefore referred to as the “Four Freedoms Speech.”

Freedom from Fear Painting
Freedom of Religion painting


Freedom of religion or religious liberty is a principle that supports the freedom of an individual or community, in public or private, to manifest religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance. It also includes the freedom to change one’s religion or beliefs, “the right not to profess any religion or belief” or “not to practice a religion”.

Modernized Freedom of Speech photo
Modernized freedom from want photo
Modernized freedom of worship photo
modernized freedom from fear photo


Photographers Hank Willis Thomas and Emily Shur have teamed up on an ambitious project that aims to get voters to the polls next Tuesday: a modern-day adaptation of Norman Rockwell’s “Four Freedoms” series. In an undertaking that involved two photo shoots and over 100 models, including actor and activist Rosario Dawson, the photographers created a staggering 82 reproductions of Rockwell’s works for political advocates to use in advance of the midterm elections.

Rockwell’s original paintings were created in response to Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1941 State of the Union Address and illustrated the four essential human rights that FDR identified therein: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. As World War II raged on, Rockwell’s paintings illustrated the ideals that Americans were fighting to protect, becoming wildly popular when they were printed in the Saturday Evening Post in 1943. The U.S. Department of Treasury even cocurated a traveling exhibition of the original paintings and printed four million posters emblazoned with the paintings as part of a war bond drive.

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