There are snobs out there who say Norman Rockwell was merely an illustrator. That is bull. There is always a lot of emotional content in his paintings. Perhaps the modern art critic wants something with a little more death and destruction in it. But in art history, this shows up in many paintings as the historical record of times, clothes, kings, and verities that are no more. Here, too.
In the eternal verities, the urge to rebel is universal, the call to obey as well. And where is the time flying part of this message? In the faces, but also in the contrast between human and institution. The straight lines and clean, nearly untouched whites of the background--things already set, like stone. Only law, order, rebellion, youth and age , guilt and innocence, fear and epiphany belong to the humans.
This is a dynamite picture. It has everything in it except a Female. The composition--three heads forming a triangle, show justice, mercy, laughter, stability, and even sadness. I love Norman Rockwell.