Early signs of a Creative Genius

Picador by Picasso at the age of 8

Making realistic art close to perfection, mastering dimensions, intellectual brilliance, speed painting and for that matter even eccentricity is not what defines a Child Art Prodigy. A fine example of this as a misconception are Vincent van Gogh’s atypical school drawings. At a glance these on no account can be called exceptional for a child of his age, especially when seen from an art teachers angle.

An art prodigy demonstrates at a very early stage – originality, creative maturity, sensitivity and curiosity. Modigliani known for his experimental art was a sickly child, his mother wrote in her diary, “The child’s character is still so unformed. He behaves like a spoiled child, but he does not lack intelligence. We shall have to wait and see what is inside this chrysalis. Perhaps an artist?” Modigliani ’s mother unknowingly defined a Child Prodigy in the most precise manner.

Their skills cross maturity milestones faster – Art prodigies are much ahead of their time and their contemporaries. Picasso had by the age of ten, mastered realism. He once quoted – “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child.

Picasso’s Mothers portrait painted by him at the age of 12

The exceedingly gifted Mexican painter Diego Rivera apparently started sketching before he could read. At the age of 10, he started taking classes at the Arts Academy of San Carlos in Mexico.

Highly sensitive and unusually observant – Child prodigies are sensitive souls, they gain inspiration from their surroundings and events that have been a turning point in their life. These fine nuances enhance their work.

Edvard Munch’s traumatic childhood has been the source of inspiration for his morbid paintings most of which have death as the central theme. He was five when his mother and sister died of tuberculosis. Soon his younger sister succumbed to mental illness and he himself was a sickly child. To add to the torture, was his fanatically religious father obsessed with the concept of death.

Curiosity to gain in-depth knowledge – a creative genius at an early age is bound to be attracted to subjects of his interest where he is destined to shine and make groundbreaking progress.

Claude Monet had a fanatical fascination for landscapes known for making paintings ‘en plein air’ (outdoors). Since the early age of five, he never liked being confined to the classrooms. His early surviving drawings showed that he was more interested in exploring and capturing Mother Nature than his schoolbooks.

Originality and novelty – Art intelligence is not just about being talented. Creativity is about thinking differently. So, a child genius will seek unconventional approach in expressing his vision for the world to see.

Renoir, due to financial troubles started working at an early age , he coloured fans, blinds, shades and other wall hangings. True to his artistic nature, he opted out of simply painting them flat. He instead went on to decorate them with pictures of gallants and their ladies, which was to become the essence of his impressionistic paintings.

Strive for artistic excellence and perfection – Child prodigies are never satisfied, for them, their masterpiece is always yet to arrive.

Whistler was a moody and temperamental child his mother stated, the only thing that would calm the child was drawing. He would sketch for hours obsessively pursuing a single composition. At the age of 11, he enrolled in the Imperial Academy of Fine Arts in St Petersburg. Scottish artist William Allan remarked to Whistler’s mother that ‘your little boy is an uncommon genius’.

Reject conventional rules – Artistic limitations and traditional rules are not for them; all art prodigies in history have even been labelled as rebels. They defy all conventional rules, with their new approach, experiments and theories eventually forming their own revolutionary art styles.