The Rage to Master: The Decisive Role of Talent in the Visual Arts

Ellen Winner and Jennifer E. Drake

in The Complexity of Greatness

Published in print May 2013 | ISBN: 9780199794003
Published online September 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199345212 | DOI:
The Rage to Master: The Decisive Role of Talent in the Visual Arts

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Deliberate practice is necessary for the achievement of high levels of expertise, but it is not sufficient. Talent is also a necessary ingredient and should not be dismissed. This chapter uses the visual arts to illustrate this position, focusing on the drawings of children who draw realistically years before their peers, and considers four pieces of evidence for talent. First, the drawings of these children are advanced from the startߞbefore they have engaged in deliberate practice. Second, these children are not just advanced but are also different. Third, there are biological markers of artistic talent. And fourth, these children show a “rage to master” the domain of drawingߞa strong drive to figure out the rules of graphic representation. Only when children have such an intense interest are they are willing to engage in extensive deliberate practice. And an intense interest in a domain is almost always a sign of innate talent.

Keywords: visual arts; children; artistic talent; deliberate practice; drive; biological markers

Chapter.  11311 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Psychology

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