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Examining a doll

Posted March. 18, 2020 07:43,   

Updated March. 18, 2020 07:43


There is a painting that brings warmth to your heart, and it is “Doctor and the Doll,” which was drawn by U.S. illustrator and painter Norman Rockwell in 1942 when he was in his late 40s. It depicts a doctor with grey hair examining a baby whom a girl in a mint dress is holding.

As you do in an oriental clinic, the doctor is taking the baby’s pulse by placing his fingers on her wrist, looking at his watch. However, his fingers are not actually on her wrist but on her entire arm because she is so small. Both the doctor who is taking the pulse and the girl who is watching this look serious. If you look closely, you will see that the baby is a doll dressed in a yellow dress. He is examining a doll, not a human.

There is a more famous version of this painting under the same title, “Doctor and the Doll,” which was drawn by the same painter in 1929. Unlike the original painting where the doctor has a stethoscope on a doll, the doctor is taking the baby doll’s pulse here. Also, the doll is wearing clothes in this painting, which makes it look more like a human.

This painting has a great story behind it. The girl asks the doctor to see her doll, saying that her baby is sick. For her, the doll is not just a doll but a baby that she has to take care of just as she is for her parents. She is serious. Instead of dismissing her request, the doctor carefully examines the “baby.” He is looking at the world from her perspective. The eyes of the girl seem to ask, “Is my baby okay?” The doctor does his best to allay her concerns. For him, her feelings are more important than what is real. He is examining her heart, not the doll.

When the girl grows up, she might feel warmth when thinking of the kindness the doctor showed. The purpose of art is sometimes to highlight such kindness just as Rockwell’s artworks do.