I don’t know when that picture was painted.

“Art seems to have many secrets. Perhaps we have to know a lot of complicated things -and read all these books over many years, as part of a PhD programme- to understand it. Studying very hard here might perhaps tell us what one is supposed to think about the altarpieces downstairs.

But maybe we don’t, in fact, need to know all that much to get something out of art. What if getting a lot from art required a subtly different set of skills? What if a genuine love of art didn’t, in fact, need to take the long path through the library? What if it were about more obvious and more direct things, like asking yourself what you intuitively feel when you look at something, and trying to find a place for art in your own life?

For some academics, there might be dangerous thoughts. We’re very reluctant to put ourselves at the center of such a noble stage as that of the powerful art world. But that’s really what art is for -it’s about us.

You are the hero of the museum. You’re already quite well equipped.”

SICKNESS. I don’t know when that picture was painted.

Alain de Botton & John Armstrong (@ Rijks Museum — Art is Therapy)

You have to be very tough to survive. It’s a dog-eat-dog world.

“Since the school playground, we’ve known that we must not show our fragility. We’ve learnt to have ‘defences’. So there is always a fragile bit of us, but we keep it very hidden. But this rock crystal doesn’t appologise for being weak. It admits it’s delicate; it is confident enough to demand careful treatment; it make the world understand it could easily be damed. And with good reason.

It is not fragile because of a deficiency, or by mistake. It’s not as if its maker was trying to make it though and hardy and then -stupidly- ended up with something a child could snap, or that would be shattered by clumsy mishandling. It is fragile and easily harmed as the consequence of its search for transparency and refinement, its desire to welcome sunlight and candlelight into its depths (…).”

SICKNESS. You have to be very tough to survive. It’s a dog-eat-dog world.

Alain de Botton & John Armstrong (@ Rijks Museum — Art is Therapy)

El lenguaje

“Si el lenguaje conduce a efectos ridículos, se debe únicamente a que es una obra humana, calcada con la mayor exactitud sobre las formas del espíritu humano. Hay en el lenguaje algo que vive de nuestra propia vida; y si esta vida del lenguaje fuese plena y perfecta; si no hubiese en él nada cristalizado; si el lenguaje, en suma, fuese un organismo completamente unificado, incapaz de fraccionarse en organismos independientes, no le alcanzaría lo cómico, como no le alcanzaría tampoco a una alma que tuviese una vida armónicamente fundida, tersa, semejante a la superficie de un agua serena. Pero no hay estanque en cuyas aguas no floten hojas secas; no hay alma humana sobre la cual no pesen hábitos que le comuniquen cierta tiesura y rigidez para consigo misma y para con los demás, no hay lengua, en fin, tan flexible, tan profundamente viva, tan presente en cada una de sus partes, que elimine lo hecho y pueda resistir a las operaciones mecánicas de inversión, transposición, etc., a que se la quiera someter, manejándola como si fuese una simple cosa. Lo rígido, lo hecho, lo mecánico por oposición a lo flexible, a lo vivo, a lo que está siempre cambiando; la distracción como lo contrario de la atención, el automatistmo, en fin, como contraste de la libre actividad, he ahí, en suma, lo que subraya la risa y lo que aspira a corregir.“

Henri Bergson

My life revolves around business, distraction, chaos, Twitter.

“If you want to get close to the important things, you will need a lot of calm, of whiteness, of emptiness, of peace. Serenity, concentration and order aren’t luxuries, they aren’t a superficial concern for a particular style of interior decoration; they are preconditions for a thoughtful, balanced life. (…) You have to fight off distraction, it can ruin your life; you have to prioritize ruthlessly; entertainment is the enemy; simplify, get rid of what you don’t really need; don’t check your email all the time; focus is an achievement.”

SICKNESS. My life revolves around business, distraction, chaos, Twitter.

Alain de Botton & John Armstrong (@ Rijks Museum — Art is Therapy)