The precocity and universality of his genius impress one the most.
Even in an imitative artist such precocity of talent is remarkable, and the date is therefore open to legitimate doubt.
Nevertheless he has a distinguished place in the story of precocious children, and in the much more limited chapter of children whose precocity has been followed by great performance at maturity, though he never became what is called a learned man, perhaps did not know Greek, and was pretty certainly indebted for most of his miscellaneous reading to Montaigne.
Its duration varies with the precocity of the embryo.
It is said that in his earliest boyhood Andrea was, like Giotto, put to shepherding or cattle-herding; this is not likely, and can at any rate have lasted only a very short while, as his natural genius for art developed with singular precocity, and excited the attention of Francesco Squarcione, who entered him in the gild of painters before he had completed his eleventh year.