Saturday, 26 October 2013

laocoön

Reviewing the new work, Art as Therapy, by Alain de Botton and John Armstrong for the excellent repository and point-of-departure for big thoughts, Brain-Pickings, writer Maria Popova presents a brilliant and scholarly synopsis of the authors' treatment of the psychology of artistic expression in seven acts.
Punctuated by pithy and profound quotations, the functional examination of art as the container of memory, hopefulness, empathy, reconciliation and maturity that is bigger than us, the article reminded me of the treatise on the aesthetic on the statue and story of Laocoön and his Sons (depicting a tragedy from antiquity—punished by the victor-gods for trying to warn their fellow Trojans about Greeks bearing gifts, this priceless and unique piece was dug up from someone's yard not so long ago and then acquired by the Vatican, where it is on display) by classicist Gotthold Lessing. Lessing's argument about the bounds of art with rules of engagement, though engrossing and lucid, however, is rather like looking in the wrong end of a telescope in comparison to the comprehensive healing and therapeutic appreciation of art, accessible and provoking in another sort of way. This essay and excerpts certainly make me want to read the entire the book and think on what shortcomings, universal endowments and limitations that we all have to deal with to one degree or another but are all as apt to enhancement and overcoming through tools and techniques--this subject being a kind of tool as well, that art takes us beyond.