Michelangelo Buonarroti, The Torment of Saint Anthony (1487)
Some artists achieved such astonishing results so early in their careers. Innate talent was a factor, of course. But they also started young: Picasso, Dalí, and Michelangelo were all painting by their early teens. Below is a childhood work of Michelangelo, which offers a glimpse into the evolution of artistic genius.
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Michelangelo’s talent was apparent as early as 12 or 13, as this extraordinarily detailed painting demonstrates. His earliest biographers claim that, aside from a handful of drawings, this piece—depicting one of a series of trials and temptations that St.
Anthony endured during a pilgrimage through the desert—was the Italian master’s very first painted work. Although this was a copy of an engraving by 15th-century German artist Martin Schongauer, Michelangelo has slightly altered the original. A trip to the fish market inspired the young painter to depict one of the demons with glistening scales, while the Italian Arno River Valley has been incorporated into the background.