Norman Rockwell is an iconic American illustrator, and I love this piece because my father is a Lobsterman and known to be a teller of tall-tales. This reminds me of how I visualized some of those tales as a child. ;-)
On this piece, The Saturday Evening Post website has the following to say:
Rockwell said little about this painting, except to note that the idea came from visits as a student to a seaside resort in Provincetown, Massachusetts. Whatever his inspiration, the painter labored over the work with his usual attention to detail. He recruited an 81-year-old Gloucester, Massachusetts, lobsterman to pose for the painting. For the fish tail, Rockwell bought and photographed a 12-pound pollack. But anticipating the scandal that might ensue if he asked one of his neighbors to pose nude, the artist hired a professional model. As the story goes, he packed his then 19-year-old son Peter in the car and drove to New York. “When we got to the modeling studio, there were six young women waiting, each holding a photo of themselves in the nude,” Peter recalls. “In the painting, my father carefully covered the mermaid’s breasts with the bars of the lobster pot, but some still called it lurid and pornographic.