We all love, hate, and study it. And it’s useless to deny it, in the end, it captivates us. Oscar Wilde always manages to get straight to the point, and with his unparalleled rhetoric, convinces us. This time, he succeeds even better in a lesser-known text of the great classics. And he achieves this through the form of dialogue: a dialogue between two lovers that tackles the still-relevant themes of the artist’s figure, the critic, the artwork, but above all, the relationship among the three.
A mixing of affirmations and negations that takes our breath away. An essay that escapes into a night of reading and keeps us with a pencil in hand, always attentive to taking the position of one or the other protagonist.
Oscar Wilde: “The Critic as Artist.” The critic
What emerges is a careful analysis of the critic’s figure, which, according to Wilde, doesn’t merely uncover the artist’s real intentions and accept them as final, but must understand and know their soul, comprehend their own impressions, and manage to express them in a new form.
Linked to the figure of an interpreter, the critic can transition from their synthetic impression of the artwork as a whole to a deep and studied analysis and to a true interpretation and translation.
Agreeable? Perhaps once, maybe for some of us, maybe not in every part. Certainly engaging, occasionally moving, and quite discomforting.