Savantism – The Curse of the Creative Genius

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Imagine being able to play on a music instrument 100% accurately a complex musical piece you have just heard. Or being able to paint like an experienced realist painter from memory an image you saw years ago. Though rare, some people can do just that and much more.

These super-humans are also known as savants. Although some of their works can leave you breathless, scientists still debate whether their creative abilities match their amazing artistic skills. 

It is estimated that there are less than a hundred savants currently living. I invite you to listen to their story.

photo by rishabh butola on unsplash

Contemporary Savants

If you are interested in the art of the savants that I mention in this podcast episode, follow these links to discover more about their work and decide for yourself how creative they are.

Jon Sarkin an acquired savant and a self-thought artist.

Alonzo Clemons an acquired savant and an animal sculptor.

Stephen Wiltshire a British architectural artist and autistic savant.


Matthew “Matt” Savage an American autistic savant musician.


Daniel Tammet an essayist, novelist, poet, translator, and autistic savant.


Anthony Cicoria is a doctor specializing in orthopaedic medicine and an acquired musical savant. 


There are other savants that I did not have enough time to mention in the episode but who are worth your attention:

Tommy McHugh was a British artist and poet. He was an acquired savant who suffered a severe stroke. McHugh died in 2012 from cancer. Before his death, McHugh said that his strokes “have given [him] 11 years of a magnificent adventure that nobody could have expected.”


Derek Amato is a composer and pianist who received a head injury and subsequently became a musical savant. He has also been diagnosed as experiencing a form of synesthesia.


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Background music themes: Bruno Sanfilippo – InTROpassion and El DoQmentalista – Vampire.

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