Special Report

31 Famous Child Prodigies

Source: Courtesy of London Stereoscopic Company / Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

6. John Stuart Mill (1806 – 1873)
> Country of origin: United Kingdom
> Talent: Philosopher

Philosopher and economist John Stuart Mill, an ardent believer in the equality of races and genders, was a child prodigy. MIll’s father, a Scottish writer, pushed him hard when he was a boy. The younger Mill read the classics, including Plato’s works in their original Greek language, as well as learned history, physics, and economics.

Source: Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

7. Clara Schumann (1819 – 1896)
> Country of origin: Germany
> Talent: Pianist

Clara Schumann, born Clara Wieck, was a pianist, who started learning to play the piano by age 5 and began composing by age 10. She became a celebrated piano prodigy and toured Europe, earning praise from such music stalwarts as Franz Liszt and Frédéric Chopin. Schumann performed professionally for more than 60 years.

Source: Courtesy of Musée Arthur Rimbaud / Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

8. Arthur Rimbaud (1854 – 1891)
> Country of origin: France
> Talent: Poet

The literary wunderkind and adventurer Arthur Rimbaud, was well versed in Latin at an early age. He published his first poem at age 15 and later wrote prose such as “A Season in Hell” that was influential in launching the surrealist movement. His poem “The Drunken Boat,” a metaphor about someone freed from convention, is considered to be his finest work. Rimbaud influenced artists such as beat writer Jack Kerouac and folk-rock singer Bob Dylan.

Source: tonynetone / Flickr

9. Marie Curie (1867 – 1934)
> Country of origin: Poland
> Talent: Physicist

Few people have had a more storied scientific career than Marie Curie, who won Nobel prizes in physics and chemistry and was the first female professor at the Sorbonne. Not surprisingly, she was a prodigy in literature and mathematics and taught herself to read Russian and French. She was encouraged to pursue her intellectual curiosity by her father, a science teacher. As a teen, she was educated in physics and natural history at a school that was kept secret from Poland’s Russian rulers in the late 19th century.

Source: Courtesy of RMN-Grand Palais / Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

10. Pablo Picasso (1881 – 1973)
> Country of origin: Spain
> Talent: Painter

One of art’s giants of the 20th century who helped found the cubism movement, Pablo Picasso was encouraged to paint by his father, a teacher and artist himself. He held his first public art exhibit at age 11. Two years later, in a gesture that recognized his son’s genius, Picasso’s father stopped painting for good. Picasso took the competitive entrance exam at Provincial School of Fine Arts in Barcelona at age 15 and finished in first place. The acclaimed painter and sculptor, who created such monumental works as “Guernica,” created more than 22,000 works of art.

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