Art as Therapy


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  • Alain de Botton and John Armstrong introduce a new method of interpreting art: art as a form of therapy.

    The conventional framework of art history, which tells us when, where and by whom an artwork was made, does little to make the case for why art is so important. In this book Alain de Botton and John Armstrong propose a new way of looking at art, suggesting that it can be useful, relevant and above all else, therapeutic for its audiences. The authors begin by laying out a method for looking at art therapeutically, then demonstrate it in action on key themes of existence, like Love, Nature, Money and Politics.

    They argue that in each area, certain great works of art have clues as to how to manage the tensions and confusions of life. The range of examples of works is part of the pleasure of the book. Unexpected lessons lie in each one: Johannes Vermeer's Girl Reading a Letter helps us to focus on what we want to be loved for; Richard Serra's Fernando Passoa reminds us of the importance of dignity in suffering; the colonnades of the monastery at Le Thoronet hold a promise of a serenity that too often escapes us; and Edouard Manet's Bunch of Asparagus teaches us how to preserve and value our long-term partners.

    Passionate, thought provoking, often funny and always accessible, this book reframes art as a therapeutic medium that can guide, console and exhort us, and along the way, help us to understand both art and ourselves better.

    About the Author

    Associate Professor John Armstrong is Philosopher-in-Residence at Melbourne Business School and Senior Advisor to the Vice-Chancellor of Melbourne University. Born in Glasgow and educated at Oxford and London, he has lived in Australia since 2001. He is the author of several internationally acclaimed books, including The Secret Power of Beauty, Conditions of Love and Love, Life, Goethe.

    ISBN: 9780714872780
    Number Of Pages: 240
    Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 13.1  x 1.9
    Weight (kg): 0.26