Art as Therapy

Schenck_AnguishRenowned philosophers and authors Alain de Botton and John Armstrong will present their unique take on art through a specially-curated Art as Therapy program, in a collaboration between the National Gallery of Victoria and The School of Life Melbourne.

The Art as Therapy program will include a free, self-guided tour of the NGV Collection, consisting of specially-written labels for over sixty works. The labels, written by de Botton and Armstrong, re-contextualise artworks to challenge visitors to examine assumptions about themselves, society, and how art is viewed in galleries.

“We are thrilled that the philosophical ideas of Alain de Botton and John Armstrong will be applied to works in the NGV Collection as an extension of their innovative book Art as Therapy,” says Tony Ellwood, Director, NGV.

“This self-guided tour will be available for free to all visitors and we hope that the thought-provoking words of de Botton and Armstrong will encourage a deeper engagement and understanding of the selected artworks.”

Art as Therapy explores the idea that art can have a powerfully therapeutic effect and be enjoyed not only for where it came from or who made it, but what it can do for you – the ordinary visitor with the concerns that trouble us all: work, love, status, mortality and sometimes-tricky relationships.

The Art as Therapy tour will be accompanied by a brochure (available from the Information Desk at NGV International) and smartphone app (available for iPhone and Android). Along with the National Gallery of Victoria, artworks at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, and the Art Gallery of Ontario will carry Art as Therapy labels.

The program will be launched with a Secular Sermon by de Botton at the NGV on Wednesday 26 March, coinciding with the permanent opening of The School of Life Melbourne. Private tours of The School of Life Melbourne’s faculty will also be on offer from Saturday 5 April.

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Image: August Friedrich Albrecht SCHENCK, Danish 1828–1901, worked in France c.1857-1901 Anguish (Angoisse) c.1878 oil on canvas 151.0 x 251.2 cm National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne Purchased, 1880