Art, Mind, and Brain: A Cognitive Approach to Creativity

By Howard Gardner | Go to book overview

Development in Specific Artistic Media

12
THE GOLDEN AGE OF DRAWING

BETWEEN THE AGES of five and seven most children in our society achieve notable expressiveness in their drawings. Having mastered the basic steps of drawing and learned to produce acceptable likenesses, they go on to produce works that are lively, organized, and almost unfailingly pleasing. One feels that the child is speaking directly through the drawings, that each line, shape, and form conveys the inner feelings as well as explicit themes in the young child's efforts to understand the world.

There is also at this age, perhaps for the first and sometimes the last time, an easy, natural commerce among various media. The child sings as he draws, dances as he sings, tells stories while at play in the bathtub or in the backyard. Rather than allow each art form to progress in relative isolation from the others, children move readily and even eagerly from one form to another, combine the forms, and play them off against one another. In fact, an age of synesthesia begins: a time when, more than any other, the child effects easy translations across sensory systems; when colors can readily evoke sounds and sounds can readily evoke color; when motions of the hand suggest lines of poetry or lines of verse stimulate a dance or a song.

This eruption of artistry at the threshold of school represents for me the central fact--and enigma--of artistic development. One can

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