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Art

Posted by Lewis on March 17, 2005

In Reply to: Oscar Wilde questions posted by Ruth Julius on March 17, 2005

: I was wondering about the specific meaning of two words which Oscar Wilde uses in his Preface to "The picture of Dorian Gray". One is "morbid", in the sentence: "No artist is ever morbid. The artist can express everything."

: The other is "all" in sentences like: "All art is at once surface and symbol" or "All art is quite useless". Do you think he means "all arts are." (every art is.) or perhaps ("art is always.")?

: Thanks a lot!

: Ruth

apologies for 2 posts - wish there was an 'amend' option...

as for art - I would suggest that whilst primarily applying the principle to the decorative arts such as painting, Wilde could be making the point about all the arts - that an essence of 'art' is that symbolism is inherent in creativity and comes through. I cannot recall when "Man and his Symbols" was written (Jung), but Wilde might have got ideas from art critics like Ruskin or even from more 'classical' sources (Palladio?).
I don't feel able to define 'art' so I cannot comment whether all art must be both symbolic and surface, but considering the nature of the Dorien Gray story, most people would wonder about the representative arts at least.

L