"The only books that influence us are those for which we are ready, and which have gone a little farther down our particular path than we have yet got ourselves." - E. M. Forster
I first heard about Art as Therapy this summer when I was at the Art Gallery of Ontario during its Art as Therapy exhibition. Small spaces throughout the gallery were designated with a particular theme--love, nature, money, politics, sex--and de Botton and Armstrong had selected certain works to appear in these spaces. The book's authors argue that art can and should serve an important purpose in our lives, by helping us to recognize, understand, cope with, and overcome many of life's problems. I've read that this book is quite controversial, as a lot of people don't really care for the reading of art as a form of therapy. But this doesn't bug me, mostly because I've found I'm a person who stands to gain a lot from this kind of practice (being able to conquer my anxieties, for example). In the gallery for love at the AGO, the authors included John William Waterhouse's " 'I am half sick of shadows,' said The Lady of Shalott". Each work of art in the gallery was accompanied by an example of a therapeutic interpretation of the work, and the caption for this painting stuck with me during--and months after--my visit to the AGO:
Problem: Saying I’m OK when I’m not really.