Alain de Botton and art historian John Armstrong wrote a book Art as Therapy, proposing an idea that art has a purpose beyond aesthetic pleasure. Art may serve as therapy and help us with such difficulties as restlessness, stress, anxiety, fear, finding purpose, fulfilment and love.
It goes like this: feeling anxious about your status? Longing for glamour? Consider Johannes Vermeer’s The Little Street 1658. The artist chose to paint simple quarters with women going about their daily work: sweeping the yard, sewing, minding children. There is no glamour on the canvas, instead, Vermeer showed preciousness of the modest life and tranquility of daily chores. If the Dutch painter chose to accentuate the beauty of the ordinary life, might his work help to lessen our status anxiety?