Christ: The Artist

A life of pleasure will eventually catch up to you. As we know Wilde learned that the hard way, and gave us a complete reflection on the metamorphosis he underwent during his time in prison. De Profundis read very similarly to the sentiments of another imprisoned artist, Dwayne Betts, although he did not begin his artistry until after his release. Both men are painfully aware of the issues of the prison system, but both experienced indescribable growth within the system and dug deep into themselves to become great men. As I worked through the long pages of Wilde’s letter, I could not help but be engrossed in the artistry of his metamorphosis. Even though the frame of his art is inevitably shifted by this change, the ever ostentatious Wilde lives on. His description of Christ as the first true artist and individual put the Bible into a completely new light for me. I began to think about it as a piece of art rather than simply the stories we hear over and over in mass. Comparing himself to Christ may have been a little irreverent, but nonetheless he makes a good point about the importance of viewing Him not only as the Prophet, but the second form of the Creator as well. An artist lives to create and challenge the status quo. Christ was sent down to Earth for that exact purpose. Within the lines of this letter, Wilde is challenging Bosie and the larger audience to see the art in the mundane and the beauty in the ugly parts of life, which is basically the foundation of Christianity. Ideas like these about Christianity intrigue me immensely because it adds a new layer to the religion preached to us from childhood. It invites the audience to interpret these ideas for themselves, instead of simply accepting what we are told in school and at mass. Religion means community, and with a community comes differing perspectives, which invites conversation. Laws are made to be broken, and Wilde is sure to point out how Christ broke did just that.  To go a little bit deeper into the grey area, by doing this, Wilde is also solidifying the idea that religion is art with the Creator as the ultimate artist, giving new meaning to the aesthetes who worship art for art’s sake. If religion becomes art, then it gives them every right to idolize the aesthetic and devote their life to art because the most widespread theology in the world basically does the same thing, according to Wilde. When you boil it down to a simple formula, his words are telling the audience to emulate Christ, but in a different way than normal. He wants the world to be a place for the rule breakers and the freaks because that makes the world worth living in. After enduring two impossible years in prison, Wilde emerges more of an artist than he ever was. His external brilliance now burns brighter then ever on the inside, and he himself is now the art. De Profundis provides the step by step retelling of how to truly know yourself. Wilde desperately wants his special reader to understand this, and though the rest of the world wasn’t in mind when he wrote it, it is a beautiful example for us too. Art is the avenue to find yourself be it through religion, aesthetic, or simple nature. It is there to guide us.

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