The Picture of Dorian Gray
What would happen if every time a person invested emotion into art, they perished? That is the idea that Oscar Wilde presented in his 1891 novel The Picture of Dorian Gray. The Picture of Dorian Gray focuses largely on the idea that art should only exist for beauty and admiration. An audience should not invest emotion into art, because it is proven by the novel that it can only end badly. Art should simply exist for the sake of being art. The Aesthetic Movement has lasted much into the modern world and spread between many cultures. The Aesthetic Movement thrived because of The Picture of Dorian Gray.
The Picture of Dorian Gray was heavily influenced by the Aesthetic Movement of the mid 1800’s. The Aesthetic Movement implied that art is only to exist for the idea of beauty, and that the viewer of the art should not look into the meaning behind the art. Oscar Wilde believed this theory, and he used ideas from the Aesthetic Movement in many of his pieces, including The Picture of Dorian Gray. The Picture of Dorian Gray was an incredibly controversial novel, especially with its added aesthetic ideas.
David A. Upchurch emphasizes the impact that the novel had on Victorian society in his article, “The Picture of Dorian Gray: Overview”. Upchurch declares:
The novel was immediately controversial because of the ethics of the aesthetic doctrines it seemed to embrace. Critics have since approached the book from a variety of positions: as an autobiography of Wilde's life, as gothic melodrama, and as an aesthetic novel.
The idea that The Picture of Dorian Gray is a heavily aesthetic novel is very true because the central theme of the novel is that art should only exist to be art.
Alan Crawford examines the origins of the Aesthetic Movement in his article, “The Aesthetic Movement”; he acknowledges the start of the Aesthetic Movement. Crawford contends:
The Aesthetic Movement flourished in Britain and the United States during the 1870s and 1880s, and it was characterized by the application of self-consciously artistic principles to the decorative arts - to furniture, metalwork, textiles, wallpapers, ceramics, stained glass, and books.
Crawford makes the argument that writers honoring aesthetic values might focus more on the look of the book rather than the content or accuracy. This could potentially affect the general value. Literature that is based on the actual look of the text or type has lost all potential accuracy, so aesthetic writing could be somewhat difficult.
The Aesthetic Movement has crossed over into many different cultures since it began nearly a century and a half ago. It has been most prominent in areas of Chinese philosophy.
Oscar Wilde begins to describe Dorian Gray discussing the elaborate and beautiful look of a Japanese book he is reading, “It was Gautier’s ‘Emaux et Camees,’ Charpentier’s Japanese paper edition, with the Jacquemart etching. The binding was citron – green leather, with a...