…wait until after the 7th September 2014 before visiting the Rijksmuseum. Why? Because until then, my least-favourite philosopher, Alain de Botton, has apparently filled the Rijksmuseum with giant Post-it notes of his own. It doesn’t sound promising:
De Botton’s evangelising and his huckster’s sincerity make him the least congenial gallery guide imaginable. He has no eye, and no ear for language. With their smarmy sermons and symptomology of human failings, their aphorisms about art leading us to better parts of ourselves, De Botton’s texts feel like being doorstepped.
Pity, I still haven’t managed to get back to visit the Rijksmuseum since its grand reopening following a ten-year refurbishment. I want to see L’Amour Menaçant by Etienne-Maurice Falconet again. However, I really don’t want to wade through de Botton’s golden shower of musings during my visit.
Addendum: whilst I don’t like to kick a man while he’s down, this piece of invective from the Spectator contains some choice morsels:
All this would be easy to ignore, except that his latest book Art as Therapy, co-written with art historian John Armstrong, now has a wretched afterlife in a museum. And it’s not just any old provincial museum, but the Rijksmuseum. This important and scholarly institution should frankly be embarrassed. From April to September this year we’ll be able to visit its world-class collection of medieval art, Dutch Golden Age paintings and 20th-century artefacts and find de Botton’s anodyne thoughts, in their utterly uninsightful, depressingly reductionist therapeutic guise, accompanying not only the works on display, but items in the shop, the café, the cloakroom and the entrance.