more from Oscar Wilde

Single Idea 7275

[catalogued under 21. Aesthetics / C. Artistic Issues / 7. Art and Morality]

Full Idea

No artist has ethical sympathies. An ethical sympathy in an artist is an unpardonable mannerism of style.

Gist of Idea

Having ethical sympathies is a bad mannerism of style in an artist


Oscar Wilde (Preface to 'Dorian Gray' [1891])

Book Reference

Wilde,Oscar: 'The Picture of Dorian Gray' [Penguin 1949], p.5

A Reaction

This has a Nietzschean suggestion that the artist is 'beyond good and evil', and operates on some higher level of values, which in Wilde's case seem to be purely aesthetic. You can't justify a callous murder by executing it beautifully.