The literature on the development of gifted child artists is sparse and very little is known of the developmental antecedents of giftedness in the visual arts. Although children's drawings have received a great deal of attention, the development of artistically gifted children has been a neglected topic due to the paucity of available data, which has led some investigators to argue that there are no child prodigies in this domain.
Researchers are faced with many unanswered questions regarding the course of artistic development including:
* Is it similar to that seen in ordinary children or does it follow a different developmental trajectory?
* What, if any, continuities can we discern over development, and how can we account for discontinuities?
* What motivates young children to pursue their art making, and what characterizes the gifted child who pursues an artistic career in adulthood?
* What are the socio-cultural conditions that foster artistic development, and how do we define artistic talent or giftedness?
Consisting of six case studies, the present collection is a first in that it traces the development of each artist from a very early age on through adulthood. The longitudinally based studies provide an insight into the evolution of a universal graphic language that is also highly subjective and reflects the individuality of the young artist. The material is unique in that the authors had access to comprehensive collections of gifted childrens' drawings, which enabled them to begin to fill the gap in understanding their development.
The development of artistically gifted children is examined from a variety of perspectives by authors who are artists, art educators and historians, and developmental and clinical psychologists. The children's collections studied afford detailed analyses of the drawings which shed light on the developmental origins and antecedents of giftedness in the visual arts. These studies elucidate the meaning of the early graphic forms, their evolution into a graphic language, and the child's early sense of aesthetics. In addition, they provide insight into continuities and discontinuities of style and subject matter, and the motivation to pursue art in childhood and adulthood. They also offer clues to the importance of socio-cultural factors that affect the choice of an artistic career. The diverse perspectives of the authors highlight the importance of theory for deepening the understanding of artistic development and its significance for human concerns.
Table of Contents
Contents: R. Arnheim, Foreword. C. Golomb, Introduction. D. Korzenik, The Changing Concept of Artistic Giftedness. D. Pariser, Lautrec--Gifted Child Artist and Artistic Monument: Connections Between Juvenile and Mature Work. C. Golomb, M. Haas, Varda: The Development of a Young Artist. C. Milbrath, Germinal Motifs in the Work of a Gifted Child Artist. E. Zimmerman, It Was an Incredible Experience: The Impact of Educational Opportunities on a Talented Student's Art Development. C. Golomb, Eitan: The Artistic Development of a Child Prodigy. L. Selfe, Nadia Reconsidered. R.N. MacGregor, Elusive Profiles: Tentatively Sketching Giftedness.
"A remarkable amount of the writing, done by experienced authors each with a familiar track record, is patently a labour of love....the book is beautifully produced in a way that makes us see wherein the children's gifts lie; and one has something that is worth having....It is inspiring to have such formidable productive power displayed and discussed."
—British Journal of Developmental Psychology
"If you define a good book as one that provides food for thought, this one is a feast....these selected case studies are an important beginning to collecting a larger number of case studies that will direct research toward patterns worthy of further inquiry."