From The Creativity Post:
Researchers, psychologists, art historians have studied, debated and pondered the correlation between age and artistic creativity throughout history. Pablo Picasso, Mozart, and T.S. Elliot all created some of their most well known art in their twenties, while Cezanne, Hitchcock, and Robert Frost produced some of their most important works in their forties, fifties and later.
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David Galenson, professor of economics at University of Chicago, studied the careers of forty-seven of painters, writers, directors, and sculptors and published his findings in his book Old Masters and Young Geniuses: The Two Life Cycles of Artistic Creativity. His research led him to the conclusion that, “There have been two very different types of artist in the modern era. These two types are distinguished not by their importance, for both are prominently represented among the greatest artists of the era. They are distinguished instead by the methods by which they arrive at their major contributions… I call one of these methods aesthetically motivated experimentation, and the other conceptual execution.”
Artists motivated by experimentation – Paul Cézanne for example – have imprecise goals and are driven by visual perceptions. These experimental artists tend to paint the same thing many times, rarely make preparatory sketches, and “aim to discover the image in the course of making it.” Their work is gradual and they learn as they paint, improving over time as an artist. The experimental artist is often at their creative peak much older. Cézanne did not paint what is considered one of his most important works, Les Grandes Baigneuses until he was well into his sixties and at the end of his days.
Conceptual artists, like Pablo Picasso, are driven to communicate precise concepts, ideas, or emotions. They often make detailed sketches to prepare for the work and their ideas are frequently sudden. Galenson explains further that, “Unlike experimental artists, whose inability to achieve their vague goals can tie them to a single problem for a whole career, the conceptual artist’s ability to consider a problem solved can free him to pursue new goals.” The peak for conceptual artists is much younger. Picasso painted Les Demoiselles d’Avignon after dozens of preparatory sketches, finally starting to paint when he was merely twenty-five.
Link to the rest at The Creativity Post