The Golden Rule

New York, USA

The Golden Rule mosaic is inspired by a painting by the renowned American artist Norman Rockwell (1894 – 1978). This painting was featured on the cover of the April 1961 edition of the Saturday Evening Post, a widely read magazine at the time. Rockwell is best known for his series of oil paintings titled Four Freedoms, which was influenced by a speech delivered by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1882 – 1945) in 1941. Roosevelt’s speech centered on envisioning a postwar world founded on four fundamental freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom from want, and freedom from fear. Another recurring theme in Rockwell’s art is tolerance.

The mosaic portrays individuals of diverse races, creeds, and backgrounds with dignity and respect, emphasizing the importance of human rights. Engraved on the mosaic’s surface is the Golden Rule: Do Unto Others as You Would Have Them Do Unto You. This message symbolizes a shared desire to bring together the world’s religions and philosophies. Within the mosaic, people from all corners of the globe come together in harmonious unity, reflecting a universal experience and aspiration.

The idea for the mosaic stemmed from Rockwell’s earlier sketch, which he revisited with the intention of depicting the Golden Rule. He found inspiration in the representation of various peoples standing behind delegates, seeing it as a fitting portrayal of the Golden Rule.

The United States government and its citizens presented this mosaic as a gift to the United Nations, with Secretary-General Javier Perez de Cuellar receiving it. The presentation was made by the First Lady of the United States, Nancy Reagan (1921 – 2016), on October 21, 1985, commemorating the 40th anniversary of the United Nations. The Thanks-Giving Square Foundation facilitated the creation and funding of the mosaic.


Mosaic projects

Atelier Mosaico Veneziano


UN Photo/Rick Bajornas

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