Child Prodigies in Visual Art: Background information when reading The Velveteen Daughter

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The Velveteen Daughter

by Laurel D. Huber

The Velveteen Daughter by Laurel D. Huber X
The Velveteen Daughter by Laurel D. Huber
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    Jul 2017, 416 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Davida Chazan
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Child Prodigies in Visual Art

This article relates to The Velveteen Daughter

Print Review

When we hear the phrase "child prodigy," our minds almost automatically go to Mozart and other musicians, and from there, towards young geniuses in the areas of mathematics and science. One of the shorter lists of child prodigies is in the visual arts: drawing, painting and sculpture. But the world has witnessed some exceptional artistic talent in young people although, for the most part, only collectors and museum curators know their names. Among them is Pamela Bianco, the titular subject of Laurel Davis Huber's novel, The Velveteen Daughter. Here are some other child prodigy artists:

PicadorCertainly, the most famous of all artists I found on lists of child prodigies is Pablo Picasso, who appears in Huber's book. According to an article in Mental Floss, "Picasso had an interest in drawing even before he could speak. Perhaps that's why, once he finally could talk, he immediately started demanding that his father (an artist himself) give him his paintbrushes." While most of us know him for his adult works, including his innovations in cubism and those extremely simple yet evocative line drawings, he painted many pictures at a young age, including "Picador" at just eight years old.

Edmund Thomas ClintOne of the most poignant child prodigy artist stories is about Edmund Thomas Clint, a boy from Kochi, India (named after his father's favorite western movie star Clint Eastwood) who died in 1983 at the age of only seven, but not before leaving a legacy of over 20,000 pieces of artwork. What is truly surprising about Clint's work is that, although very childlike in style, there is nothing abstract in any of his works. Every painting includes images we can easily identify, like waterfalls, animals, boats and sunsets. It is almost hard to believe that one so young could produce such accurate pictures, but there is photographic evidence that he really painted such beautiful works.Edmund Thomas Clint's Art

Barbie MarilynAutumn de Forest, currently 14 years old, is another child genius who often uses interesting mediums such as melted crayons to paint stylistic pictures, many of which seem reminiscent of Andy Warhol (such as with her painting, "Barbie Marilyn".) Despite such early fame, earning millions from sales of her paintings, showings across the globe, having one of her pieces hanging in the Vatican, and an invitation to the White House from Michelle Obama, Autumn seems to be growing into a well adjusted young woman, who volunteers her time teaching art to disadvantaged children.

Kieron WilliamsonFinally, British born Kieron Williamson, according to a BBC article, was a millionaire by age 13. Apparently, Kieron is not only artistically talented, he also seems to know what to paint to make sure his pictures sell. In this article in The Guardian, he is called shrewd, but not cynical, which could serve him well in the long run.

Kieron Williamson's ArtOne can only hope that Kieron and Autumn will grow into healthy, well-adjusted adults. Unfortunately, according to Huber's novel, Pamela Bianco didn't completely succeed in that vital way.

Picador by Picasso
Edward Thomas Clint
An Unfinished Picture by Edward Thomas Clint
Barbie Marilyn, courtesy of The Huffington Post
Kieron Williamson and his family
Art by Kieron Williamson, courtesy of BBC

Article by Davida Chazan

This "beyond the book article" relates to The Velveteen Daughter. It first ran in the July 12, 2017 issue of BookBrowse Recommends.

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