The Follower of Aestheticism At the fin De sisCLC of the Victorian period, aestheticism played a huge role and influenced the lives of many. Oscar Wiled, the main protagonist of this movement, and who was also so consumed by the aesthetic movement that “the catastrophe ended his career and ultimately his life” (Schaffer 7), crafted and voiced his opinions into his single novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray.
This kook revolves around the obvious appreciation of aestheticism and the pursuit Of it by its title character, Dorian Gray. In a society highly influenced by aestheticism, Wiled shows that Dorian is a follower of the aesthetic movement who places high value on both youth and beauty and art through his actions and inactions. Aestheticism is the excessive devotion and pursuit of beauty and it took over much of the Victorian way of life. This movement was “a literary philosophy ND a guide for everyday life’ (Schaffer 7).
It was primarily modeled after the Pre-Reappraises which “produced allegorical, stylized, richly colored, sensuous paintings and poems that evoked medieval styles” (Schaffer 7). Ideas and lifestyles were reformed after the belief that “beauty was an end in itself’ (Schaffer 7). Andrew Libeling writes, its core is the doctrine of ‘art for art’s sake,’ in defiance of the measures of popularity, moral value, political dance, religious teachings or other benefits to the reader” (Libeling 270).
Aestheticism, as a movement, celebrated art for art’s sake. It needed neither a political nor a moral message and its goal was simply to derive pleasure from beauty. Aesthetes therefore led a life that revolved around seeking pleasure. Blessed (or cursed) with such good looks in an era where superficiality took its highest form, it was much smoother and easier for Dorian to take the route to become a practitioner of the aesthetic movement.