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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars

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on 17 August 2017
All of a sudden I realise that I am an Alain de Botton fan - I have read so many of his books. He convinced me
that I could and should read Proust's A la Recherche and so I did thus creating a momentous event in my life.
(Read it and see for yourself). Art as Therapy is a book to cherish, you can't really read it in one sitting or
call it quits on the last page. It is a handbook, a guide to teaching you over a long period of time how to look
at and utilize the works of art in our world. Alain helps to demystify the world, at least he has for me! Simple
language wtih a pervasive pleasantness.
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on 2 May 2017
great intro to art therapy well presented book
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on 19 May 2014
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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on 27 December 2013
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.

With examples and more illustrations throughout, Alain and John reveal how we as humans cannot lose sight of the bigger things, and how sometimes art is the only solace. They talk about looking at art with fresh eyes and viewing it the way you never would have thought of. Each painting, each art form transforms itself in their hands and that is more than reason enough to read this book. They show us how art heals us in ways we cannot even imagine. Art is then an imperative force in our lives, which perhaps we do not pay attention to - given the hustle-bustle of our technology-ridden lives. They remove art from the shallow galleries and bring it out to readers and the so-called common man through this fascinating concept and even more wondrous book.
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on 11 November 2013
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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on 2 May 2016
This book is truly englightening. Describes historical and contemporary art by dissecting the subject into a variety of topics that art operates within; growth, nature, hope, sorrow, joy, etc, as well as going beyond the emotional mechanisms of art and the people that like it. It feels intellectual and easy to read, making astounding points without the need for noticeable and deliberately 'mystifying' language. Tasteful illustrations and art included too. An essential read, I would probably pay double the price for this.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 21 November 2013
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.

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on 8 March 2015
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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on 29 February 2016
An excellent book. Photographs and the text work so well together. Imaginative and thought-provoking
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on 21 March 2014
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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