Close your eyes under the Sistine Chapel frescoes. Cover your ears listening to Mozart’s 40th Symphony. Reframe Dalí’s daydreams. We do not recommend that you do any of them when coming into contact with these and other masterpieces created throughout the History of Art. All these creations came from people who from their very early childhood were stimulated to express their talents and live the universe of art surrounding them. A world where you can’t admire and experience these works would certainly be less interesting.
On the day Children’s Day is celebrated in Brazil, it is worth reflecting on the importance regarding the coexistence and mutual exchange between the childhood universe and artistic creation. Fine Arts Contemporary History professor and curator of the Brazilian Sculpture Museum (MUBE), Cauê Alves, explains that the idea of a genius artist who’s born with a divine gift is a romantic concept. Artists are formed through several instances starting out in their childhood. It begins at school age and only comes to fruition in a free environment, where they can find their gesture.
Visual artist and professor at the São Paulo Museum of Art (MASP), Daniel Jablonski adds: “The earlier a child comes into contact with art, more likely this person will perceive it as a life possibility. To hide the existence of certain things, or prohibit contact with these things does not protect children, but to let them discover it later on, without mediation, without adequate interpretation, can end up being much more traumatic”.
But it’s wrong to think that only children can benefit from visiting museums, art studios and exhibitions. Artistic production survives and also gains a lot from this interaction. An example provided by professor Cauê Alves refers to Juan Miró. The Catalan sculptor and painter spent his life trying to unlearn the technique to reach the freedom of a child’s strokes.
The prognosis that Cauê makes in relation to the increasingly bigger restriction of children to come into contact with art is very pessimistic. “To remove art from the school curriculum and impede children to visit museums may cause irreparable loss for an entire generation. Art is part of a human’s formation. To move children away from art is to impoverish the human itself”.
Provided below is a list with a history of major artists who revealed their talent at a young age.
Biographers tell that during his childhood he only liked to draw. At age 13, at his parent’s decision, he became an apprentice to Domenico Ghirlandaio, an important painter at the time who trained a generation of artists. The artist’s first known work is a sculpture called Head of a Faun. It was this work that secured Michelangelo’s definitive ingress in the important list of Renaissance artists.
The early giftedness of Mozart first drew attention of his father, who abandoned his career to travel throughout Europe showcasing his child’s talent in courts and theaters. There are records of Mozart composing when he was just 5 years old. At 6, he already mastered the strings of a violin and began writing his first symphony at age 8.
Pablo Picasso started to formally study art with his father, who was an artist and a teacher, when he was seven years old. At age 13, he produced his first series of oil paintings, which included portraits of his family. Two years later, he began negotiating to publicly exhibit his works in small scale.
American painter Edward Hopper generated commotion in the family with the quality of his drawings when he was just five years old. His parents kept him amply supplied with canvases, brushes and paint to further stimulate their child’s talent.