Art, the Artist and Ethics in Wilde's Picture of Dorian Gray


  • Zrinka Frleta Lecturer, Department of Tourism and Communication Studies, University of Zadar, Croatia



aestheticism, Dorian Gray, art, ethics, beauty, artist


This paper examines ideological and philosophical premises of aestheticism, presented in Wilde's critical essays (The Critic as Artist and The Decay of Lying), and epigrams in the preface to the novel The Picture of Dorian Gray, which both offer a philosophical context to the novel. Aestheticism emphasized that art can not be subordinated to moral, social, religious and didactic goals, because its ultimate goal is art itself, l'art pour l'art (art for art's sake). „Art never expresses anything but itself.“ „All bad art comes from returning to Life and Nature, and elevating them into ideals.“ „Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life.“ „Lying, the telling of beautiful untrue things, is the proper aim of Art.“ (Wilde, 1891). The relations between art and reality (concealment of reality) and art and ethics (an ethical function of art) have been explored through the interaction of the characters of Basil Hallward and Sibyl Vane with Dorian Gray. The paper also examines the role of the artist, his morality in the process of creating and experiencing the work, and the influence of the work of art on the artist himself/herself.




How to Cite

Frleta, Z. (2017). Art, the Artist and Ethics in Wilde’s Picture of Dorian Gray. European Journal of Interdisciplinary Studies, 3(4), 18–21.