The artist is the
creator of beautiful things. To reveal art and conceal the artist is art's
The critic is he who
can translate into another manner or a new material his impression of
beautiful things. The highest, as the lowest, form of criticism is a mode of
Those who find ugly
meanings in beautiful things are corrupt without being charming. This is a
fault. Those who find beautiful meanings in beautiful things are the
cultivated. For these there is hope. They are the elect to whom beautiful
things mean only beauty.
There is no such
thing as a moral or an immortal book. Books are well written, or badly
written. That is all.
nineteenth-century dislike of Realism is the rage of Caliban seeing his own
face in a glass. The nineteenth-century dislike of Romanticism is the rage
of Caliban not seeing his own face in a glass.
The moral life of man
forms part of the subject-matter of the artist, but the morality of art
consists in the perfect use of an imperfect medium.
No artist desires to
prove anything. Even things that are true can be proved. No artist has
ethical sympathies. An ethical sympathy in an artist is an unpardonable
mannerism of style.
No artist is ever
morbid. The artist can express everything.
Thought and language
are to the artist instruments of an art.
Vice and virtue are
to the artist materials for an art. From the point of view of form, the type
of all the arts is the art of the musician. From the point of view of
feeling, the actor's craft is the type.
All art is at once
surface and symbol.
Those who go beneath
the surface do so at their peril.
Those who read the
symbol do so at their peril. It is the spectator, and not life, that art
Diversity of opinion
about a work of art shows that the work is new, complex, and vital.
When critics disagree
the artist in in accord with himself.
We can forgive a man
for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it. The only excuse
for making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely.
All art is quite
Preface to The
Picture of Dorian Grey
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