"No man with a conscience can just bat out illustrations. He's got to put all of his talent, all of his feeling into them." (Judy Goffman, The Great American Illustrators)
Walking to Church features a family of five walking down a street, Bibles in their hands, dressed in their Sunday best. The businesses, a barbershop, a hair salon and a restaurant, are all closed on this day of rest. Milk bottles sit on stoops, not yet brought in by the customers. The steeple pokes up from the businesses, the bell ringing.
Rockwell based the steeple on the one from the North Bennington Church. The street is based on one in Little Italy in Troy, Vermont which included a restaurant called the Silver Dollar. Rockwell's inspiration for the painting was a piece by Johannes Vermeer's called View of Houses in Delft.
Rockwell's attention to detail is always evident. Notice the intricate designs below the parapet of the barbershop. Take note of the antennas on the rooftops. A flock of birds draws our eye to the church tower. "[Without] them, one might not have realized that the family was going to church." (http://www.sothebys.com/en/auctions/ecatalogue/2013/american-art-n09048/lot.23.html) As Rockwell explained: "No man with a conscience can just bat out illustrations. He's got to put all of his talent, all of his feeling into them."
Walking to Church, which first appeared in The Saturday Evening Post on April 4, 1953, sold at Sotheby's Auction for $3.2 million in 2013.