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Art as Therapy [Hardcover]

Alain de Botton , John Armstrong
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 39.95
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Book Description

Oct. 14 2013

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.


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Art as Therapy + The News: A User's Manual + How To Think More About Sex: The School Of Life
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Review

"One of the most intellectually exciting books I have read this year. . . full of illumination and insights. . . The four teenagers to whom I gave the book have all been thrilled by the sense that art isn’t the preserve of high priests. Best of all, I took my student son to the Rijksmuseum and, utterly absorbed, he said he would never look at art the same way again. De Botton is throwing open a door and doing what art ought to do: making us think and feel afresh. I hope many people step through it." – The Times

"A highly optimistic vision. . .roams widely through subjects as immense as love, nature, money and politics. De Botton and Armstrong's examination of love is most rewarding." – Royal Academy of Arts

"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

"It’s like going back to college, but in a good way. . . A little bit like dipping in to a modern day Gombrich albeit through the eyes of Oprah. . . A really entertaining and thought‐provoking look at the role that art plays – or could play – in our lives. . . Part philosophy, part art history, the book takes work that is considered by many to be lofty and rarified, and relates it to our everyday lives. [Art as Therapy] makes the reader consider the work far more intensely and deeply than perhaps we otherwise would." – A Little Bird

"A true meditation on the power art has to transform our lives." – The Mayfair Magazine

"The beautifully designed and illustrated book, Art as Therapy argues for a new way of using art to help us with a variety of psychological ills." – The School of Life

About the Author

Alain de Botton (b.1969) is the author of bestselling books in more than 30 countries, including The Consolations of Philosophy, How Proust Can Change Your Life, Status Anxiety, and most recently Religion for Atheists. He founded The School of Life in London in 2008, which supplies good ideas for everyday life in the form of courses, classes, workshops and talks. In 2009 he founded Living Architecture, which aims to make high‐quality architecture accessible to everyone.

John Armstrong (b.1966) is a British philosopher and art historian based at Melbourne University. He is the author of five well‐received books, including The Intimate Philosophy of Art, Conditions of Love: The Philosophy of Intimacy, and In Search of Civilisation: Remaking a Tarnished Idea.


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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Confusing mumblings. It's not about philosophy or art. I bought this book having watched and liked his lectures but this books is a complete disappointemnt
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Insightful ways to access art May 16 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book introduces Insightful and provocative ways to access art beyond the canon of art history and traditional art criticism.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.2 out of 5 stars  26 reviews
35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, meditative writing Oct. 16 2013
By Jshah - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I just received this book yesterday and I am savoring it page by page. I have been a huge fan of Alain de Botton for years now so it is no surprise that I pre-ordered this book. His take on the role of art in our individual lives and our spiritual lives is thoughtful and at times, provocative. He talks about art in the context of universal, human truths. He delves into each picture, extracting hidden emotions and details that reveal deeper layers and new ways to look at the art and relate it back to the human truths. I haven't finished it in a day - because this book is meant to be read a few pages at a time and meditated upon.
16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars If you enjoy art or want to enjoy art, this is a must read. Excellent! Nov. 8 2013
By Carolina Katharine - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Doesn't get better than this. Most books about art are flat, condescending, basically showing off the author's smarts. This book is very accessible to anyone who loves art and for anyone who has an interest ranging from professional to collector to novice. An intriguing take on humanity in art and how we communicate with art and how modern life dictates our understanding. Thoughtful, enlightening, refreshing, beautiful! Well edited, beautiful lay out, keenly developed and a book that is enjoyable to read over and over again. Brings a sense of discovery to the art viewer. Makes me want to head the nearest museum! Would make an excellent gift for anyone, whether for the holidays or as a thank you.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ahhh............. Nov. 21 2013
By Kathleen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is so different from others I have read. Here, art is not about history, not about technique. It is about the relationship between the viewer and the work. Art - either viewed or practiced - has depths of wisdom and perspective to impart. This is so delicious a book, that I limit my time with it, to make it last. Very interesting. Beautiful artwork.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Art as Therapy Oct. 27 2013
By Leonie J M - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This wonderful book takes you deeply into the effects of art through the ages on the reader emotionally, intellectually and philosophically. I strongly recommend it. A book to read again and again.
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The book makes both life and art a little bit more interesting Nov. 17 2013
By Antti Nikkanen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I bought this book kind of "accidentally". You could not consider me a fan of art. I still found the book very interesting. A slow read book, not only because the language is quite difficult but the ideas need a lot of time to be thought about. After finishing the book I found myself to be more calm with the discomfort the universe provides us.
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