There should be a law that no ordinary newspaper should be allowed to write about art. The harm they do by their foolish and random writing it would be impossible to overestimate—not to the artist but to the public. . . . Without them we would judge a man simply by his work; but at present the newspapers are trying hard to induce the public to judge a sculptor, for instance, never by his statues but by the way he treats his wife; a painter by the amount of his income and a poet by the colour of his necktie.
—Oscar Wilde, Art and the Handicraftsman
Oscar Wilde (1854-1900) was known as the “Apostle of Aestheticism”. Wilde explained “Aestheticism is a search after the signs of the beautiful. It is the science through which men look after the correlation which exists in the arts. It is, to speak more exactly, the search after the secret of life.” Wilde calls aestheticism a philosophy. “It is a study of what may be found in art and nature. Whatever in art represents eternal truth expresses the great underlying truth of aestheticism.”
Oscar Wilde photo courtesy of The American Reader
Wilde’s signature courtesy of his official website
Title Quote from Oscar Wilde’s The Critic as Artist