A s the world adjusts to a new normal and life as we know it is reconfigured around us, philosopher, author and founder of The School of Life, Alain de Botton gives us the tools to use art to guide us through these uncertain times. Using his book Art as Therapy as the starting point, below, he explores the many ways that art can provide comfort, reflection, entertainment, and even answers.
He is joined along the way by artists, writers, actors, historians and Sotheby's own specialists who share and explore the ways in which art can be used as a tool - for escapism, inspiration and comic relief.
Each week, new stories and insights will be published across all our channels and we invite you to share, enjoy and discuss.
Watch What is Art For? , a film by Alain de Botton
The Art of Humour
Writer and creative director Raven Smith, dubbed the funniest man on Instagram, dissects the sometimes complicated relationship between art and laughter.
"It’s difficult to unpeel the banana of funny art and slip into a comedy turn without first acknowledging the absurdity of all human life."
The Art of Universality
This image is probably one of the earliest realistic depictions of a dream. A decade earlier Dürer had written: "How often do I see great art in my sleep, but on waking cannot recall it". This picture is not a considered, deliberate composition developed over time, but Dürer’s effort to recall and picture his vision with urgent immediacy...
The Art of Reading
Join specialists from the Sotheby's Books department as they reveal how literature can soothe, comfort and inspire us during difficult times, and what they're reading during lockdown. From sci-fi classics and epic biographies to timely new releases and meditations on nature, click through to explore their recommendations.
"The fragmentary form mimics the slippery experience of these stay-at-home days, as our collective sense of time and normalcy is upended."
"Now we are afforded the rare luxury of time – time to breathe, time to look and time to listen to the natural world around us."