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Art As Therapy.  Alain de Botton and John Armstrong. Phaidon Press. 2013. 

This book, which I first mentioned in The Art Of Collage journal HEREcontinues to impress me. It's  important to note that the book is Art As Therapy, not Art Therapy. The book reads very easily and avoids the convoluted academic art-speak that one might anticipate from two philosopher authors. 

Referring to Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin’s A Lady Taking Tea, 1735, deBotton says, “The room is studiously plain. Yet the picture is glamorous: it makes this ordinary occasion, and the simple furnishings, seductive. It invites the beholder to go home and create their own live version. The glamour is not a false sheen that pretends something lovely is going on when it isn’t. Chardin recognizes the worth of a modest moment and marshals his genius to bring its qualities to our notice.

Jean-Baptiste-Simeon Chardin: A Lady Taking Tea by Crussol12

 Some additional functions of art according to deBotton: 

One of the unexpectedly important things that art can do for us is teach us how to suffer more successfully. 

We may have a tendency to be too complacent, or too insecure; too trusting, or too suspicious; too serious, or too light-hearted.  Art can put us in touch with concentrated doses of our missing dispositions and thereby restore a measure of equilibrium to our listing inner selves. 

The power to shock sometimes seems like the most important quality in art.

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Submitted on
November 15, 2013
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