Tuesday, December 30, 2014

“…we bring to the act of photography all the books we have read…” “The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde.

I try to keep in mind this quotation from Ansel Adams: “We don't make a photograph just with a camera, we bring to the act of photography all the books we have read, the movies we have seen, the music we have heard, the people we have loved.”

Keeping it in mind, I want to share with you some thoughts on “The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde.


This book is on the Guardian’s list of The 100 Greatest Novels of All the Times.
But in 1890 when it appeared, the book was called “unclean,” “poisonous,”  “nasty” and “nauseous”.
The Victorian sensibility was frightened - not by murder and suicide, but by homosexual desire.
There are many other themes in the novel: the nature of beauty, the role of the artist and arts in society, the fear of aging, a psychological perspective of development of the human nature, the personal satisfaction. But the critics didn’t want to notice this diversity.

Oscar Wilde wrote several letters to the editors of different magazines trying to defend his book. But it was only the 1st act of the tragedy.
Wilde could not escape the destiny. Maybe it was the infernal sneer…
Lord Alfred Douglas read “The Picture of Dorian Gray” at Oxford and reread it thirteen times. He was craving to meet the author. It was as if Dorian stepped from the canvas. “I know Hyacinthus, whom Apollo loved so madly, was you in Greek days”, - wrote Wilde.

The painter Basil Hallward died by the hand of Dorian. Wilde was tried and imprisoned for his homosexual relationship with Lord Alfred Douglas, was sentenced to two years of hard labor. Upon his release Wilde spent the rest of his life wandering Europe. He died penniless, in a cheap Paris hotel. It was the last act of the tragedy…

Nowadays the homosexual relationship is not the crime (in most countries).  Medicine slows aging and prolongs life. “The Picture of Dorian Gray” is considered to be one of the greatest novels of all the times…

You might want to remember several quotes from “The Picture of Dorian Gray”.

”The artist is the creator of beautiful things. To reveal art and conceal the artist is art’s aim.”

”The artist can explain everything.”

”…every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter. The sitter is merely the accident, the occasion. It is not he who is revealed by the painter; it is rather the painter who, on the coloured canvas, reveals himself. The reason I will not exhibit this picture is that I am afraid that I have shown in it the secret of my own soul.”

“There is nothing that Art cannot express…”

“We live in an age when men treat art as if it were meant to be a form of autobiography.”

“The aim of life is self-development.”

“…Beauty is a form of Genius – is higher, indeed, than Genius, as it needs no explanation.”

“Humanity takes itself too seriously.”

“Love is a more wonderful thing than Art.”

“Each man lived his own life, and paid his own price for living it.”

“To define is to limit.”


Thank you for reading!
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