Oscar Wilde 's Art For Art Essay

1441 Words May 7th, 2015 6 Pages
Wilde uses extensive examples of art surpassing reality to show that life as it is depicted in art is morally superior to "real" life because art is a purified reflection of reality that exhibits only reality 's most beautiful characteristics. Once Dorian has fallen in love with beautiful young actress Sibyl Vane, he proclaims that “the only thing worth loving is an actress” (Wilde 51). He dislikes most other women because there is no art to them, but an actress lives her art when she performs and is thus worthy of his love. When Dorian sees Sibyl acting, he sees her through her art, and thus at her most beautiful. Wilde states in the preface of The Picture of Dorian Gray that "all art is quite useless" and must be "[admired] intensely" because he believed in Walter Pater 's concept of "art for art 's sake" (Wilde 5). Under Wilde 's aesthetic philosophy, one should only use art for the sensory or soulful pleasure that its beauty begets. Art is inherently and solely beautiful and this acts as a lens through which only pure beauty can be seen. Unfortunately, Dorian never falls in love with the artist behind the acting. Wilde hints at this calamity when he has Dorian refer to his beloved as a “thing” that can be “worth” something. Dorian adores Sibyl 's beauty as an art object, but ignores the girl behind the art . This becomes heartbreakingly apparent when Sibyl Vane loses her art for love of Dorian and he has nothing to love about her anymore. Without the lens of art, which…

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