Chardin's Lesson

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Robin Tipple


In this essay I show how looking at two paintings by Jean-Simeon Chardin (1699-1779) in the National Gallery encouraged me to revisit the experience of providing art therapy for people with learning difficulties. In reflecting on my experiences, both of the paintings and of providing art therapy, I began to develop my thinking in relation to emotion and self-expression.  My reading of art therapy literature, philosophy (Hegel 1977 and Butler 1987 & 1997), semiotics (Jakobson 1960) and neuroscience (Damasio 1999), then gave me the confidence to make a definitive statement in relation to ‘self-expression’.  In presenting my arguments to readers I hope I will have encouraged art therapists to give attention to the cultural and social situation which facilitates the use of art materials to provide transformative experiences and support the development of relationship and self-awareness.


Key words: Chardin, Art Therapy, Learning difficulties, emotion and feeling, self-expression. 


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