“The Healing Potential of Art”
Early in his career, Jean-Jacques Rousseau won an Académie de Dijon prize for an essay he wrote about the contributions of art to the morals of society. In it he said that the arts of civilized societies serve only to “cast garlands of flowers over the chains men bore.”
So much of our art has become pretty: it seems that all we look for, and so often all we are given, are the flowers. But it has not freed us from our chains. My deepest intention is that some day a sufferer, no matter how afflicted, will be able to look at a painting, at a photograph, and be instantly released from those chains and so be fully healed. That is my ultimate hope, for it is what I believe art can do. That is what I believe it did in the caves at Lascaux, and that is what I believe we have lost to an ever greater extent since that time.
Extract from the book
Art for Healing: Guided Painting Then and Now