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Art as Therapy Hardcover – 14 Oct 2013

4.6 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Phaidon Press; 01 edition (14 Oct. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0714865915
  • ISBN-13: 978-0714865911
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 2.5 x 27.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 27,286 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

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

Vanity Fair on Art

...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.

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

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A great book for dipping into, I keep it by my bed. A wise book too. You don't have to agree with everything the authors say - that's the joy of it - it's provocative and inspires a personal response. The authors are NOT telling you what to think and feel as some critics have stated. They help you to see what the artist - or more accurately the artefact - may be getting at. I now visit galleries with greater confidence in my own ability to interpret and appreciate what I'm looking at. Another bonus is that it has inspired me to go and see some pictures I might previously have ignored or dismissed. It's a mind-opener!
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Format: Hardcover
It is the end of the year and I close the year with a book I just finished and cannot stop talking or thinking about - "Art as Therapy" by Alain de Botton and John Armstrong. May be a lot of people know Alain and are aware of what and how he writes and then there are others who are yet to discover his style and works. I envy the latter set of people. They are so lucky to discover his works and his line of thought. At the same time, because this book is co-written, it is always good to see another perspective, in this case of John Armstrong.

Alain de Botton according to me is a master at what he does - he integrates human behaviour across a range of topics and we have witnessed that through his works. "Art as Therapy" on the other hand is a different matter altogether.

"Art as Therapy" speaks of art in the manner, which is accessible to everyone. It is not about wine glasses in hand and appreciating something on the wall, and acting all pretentious. It is about nonetheless, life and how we live art and also sometimes its therapeutic and redeeming nature in our lives. The bigger question that the book seeks to answer is: What is art's purpose? What does it do or not do for humans? Why is it needed at all?

In this book, de Botton covers different aspects of life through art - love, nature, money, and politics and how art acts as a catalyst to solve the daily worries of life. A photograph then becomes more than a photograph. A painting then becomes something that you connect with so strongly, that you can never let go. Alain looks at everyday problems, everyday issues and uses art to solve them. May be solve is an incorrect term here, he uses art to get an understanding of life and then perhaps cure the soul.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is amazing, the title doesn't really do it justice at all. This is a book that anyone who has ever looked at anything and thought, that's nice, will really enjoy. It is a beautiful, thoughtful and intriguing insight into how we relate and think about it art. And how to feel okay about the art YOU like and not what someone else else tells you should. This book is not 'for those in the know' about Art, if anything, it's for everyone else BUT the experts. I thoroughly reccommend it. I will be buying many many more copies for friends.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a really beautiful book, with many photographic plates of works of art - mainly paintings but including architecture, sculpture, and photography too. Throughout the authors argue that the value of art is in the effect it has on us, its viewers, and on how art can help us to understand and share hope, sorrow, and much else that makes up human life experience.

This is not a book only for the those who love the arts - it is also very much a book for those of us who are interested in the human condition and how we can better appreciate the joys and sorrows of our lives and all that surrounds us.

A genuinely beautiful book - presented in high quality, with thought provoking and informative narrative which supplements and explains the illustrations maginificently.

Superb
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you've ever been to an art gallery and left feeling uninspired, confused and wondering why the art is there, then this book is for you. Alan acts as a your personal art tour guide to and does his best to communicate what the artists are trying to portray. He also has a good explanation as to why art galleries seem to alienate those of us not familiar with the secret language of art. To curators - read the last few pages at least and re-arrange your galleries in a more logical way.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Beautiful book, and the authors' perspective was compelling and through-provoking. It was not what I expected, and I was very pleasantly surprised. I also enjoyed the reproduction of artwork. All around I am happy to have read this book. I think back to it and its message all the time.
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Format: Hardcover
Art is always going to be a divisive and controversial topic, which is often the point. Who are the real gatekeepers and self appointed authorities at the gates telling everyone what or who is genius and who is courageous to stand up and claim the emperor has no clothes?...

Armstrong and de Botton like John Berger in his "Ways of Seeing" do a grand job off taking a sober, reasoned and intelligent eye to art and manage to strip away most of the useless, obfuscating and ambiguous language and dare to get to the point and more importantly the pleasure of art. They don't bore us by trying to tell us how clever they think they are instead they show us how we can apply it in a practical and positive way with some surprising and rewarding results.
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