Just what is genius?

Connell Vaughan

RTE Brainstorm Updated / Wednesday, 8 Jan 2020 12:33


The image of the genius figure as an individual with rare artistic creativity is an inheritance of Romantic aesthetics and European Enlightenment philosophy that emphasised individual freedom, spontaneity and creative self-expression. The term is commonly understood as a byword for the self-assertion of the artist as an individual with a special gift of inspired vision. As such, the famous quote of the 19th century German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer that "talent hits a target no one else can hit; genius hits a target no one else can see" neatly captures our understanding of the term.