Norman Rockwell was born in New York City in 1894. He began drawing as a child and eventually dropped out of high school to attend the National Academy of Design. He became the art director of Boy’s Life magazine at the age of 19, and drew his first cover for the Saturday Evening Post at 22. Eventually he would produce over three hundred covers for the Post, as well as dozens for other magazines, posters, calendars, and advertisements. He would often use friends and neighbors to pose for the characters in his paintings; he would photograph the scene, and use the photos as the basis for his paintings. Although some critics considered his work too realistic and sentimental to be art, his reputation grew, and in 1977 he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his contributions to the art world. He painted into his eighties, and died in 1978, a canvas still on the easel in his studio.