Norman Rockwell was the most popular illustrator in the United States during the mid-twentieth century, yet no important artist of his time showed interest in his work. This prompts the question: how good an artist was Rockwell? His technique is an adaptation of standard nineteenth-century verismo (an artistic movement marked by use of common everyday themes), competent but undistinguished. While he had an acute sense of gesture and facial expression, his anatomical competence was limited. In No Swimming (1921), for example, there is a bit of leg visible between the legs of the central figure that belongs to the boy lagging behind, but it is so shapeless that one cannot be considered a sophisticated perversion of expressive purposes as, for example, would the elastic spine in Ingres's Grande Odalisque. However, Rockwell's work does exhibit a genius in its fastidiousness about the absolute justness of every expression and its precise positioning of each prop. It is this attention to detail that renders unforgettable his best images, such as the open mouth in the form of an O of the little who has just discovered that there is no Santa Claus.