What is art's purpose? In this engaging, lively, and controversial new book, bestselling philosopher Alain de Botton and art historian John Armstrong propose a new way of looking at familiar masterpieces, suggesting that they can be useful, relevant, and - above all else - therapeutic for their viewers. De Botton argues that certain great works offer clues on managing the tensions and confusions of everyday life. Chapters on Love, Nature, Money, and Politics outline how art can help with these common difficulties - for example, Vermeer's Girl Reading a Letter helps us focus on what we want to be loved for; Serra's Fernando Pessoa reminds us of the importance of dignity in suffering; and Manet's Bunch of Asparagus teaches us how to preserve and value our long‐term partners. Art as Therapy offers an unconventional perspective, demonstrating how art can guide us, console us, and help us better understand ourselves.
‘Art as Therapy is ... beautifully designed, and filled with images of paintings and sculptures alongside explanations of how those artworks might be approached in a more personally helpful, therapeutic way.’ – New Yorker ‘Asking the questions that always swirl through your mind when striding around Tate Modern […] Art as Therapy […] massages the mind in all the right places.’ – Vanity Fair on Art ‘… the proposal that art dealers function as therapists, that museums be organized into galleries of suffering and compassion, and that scholars “analyse how art could help with a broken heart” boldly positions art at the center of our daily lives.’ – Publishers Weekly
Alain de Botton is the author of bestselling books, including The Consolations of Philosophy, How Proust Can Change Your Life, Status Anxiety, and Religion for Atheists. He founded The School of Life in 2008, an organization which - from branches around the world - supplies good ideas for everyday life in the form of books, workshops, and talks. In 2009 he founded Living Architecture, which makes high-quality architecture accessible to everyone. John Armstrong is a philosopher and art theorist based at Melbourne University in Australia. He is the author of several well-received books, including The Intimate Philosophy of Art, and Conditions of Love.