Art Imitates Life

“Personal experience is a most vicious and limited circle. All that I desire to point out is the general principle that Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life, and I feel sure that if you think seriously about it you will find that it is true. Life holds the mirror up to Art, and either reproduces some strange type imagined by painter or sculptor, or realizes in fact what has been dreamed in fiction. Scientifically speaking, the basis of life— the energy of life, as Aristotle would call it—is simply the desire for expression, and Art is always presenting various forms through which this expression can be attained. Life seizes on them and uses them, even if they be to her own hurt. Young men have committed suicide because Rolla did so, have died by their own hand because by his own hand Werther died. Think of what we owe to the imitation of Christ, of what we owe to the imitation of Cæsar.”

Wilde, Oscar. Intentions: The Decay of Lying. New York: Brentano’s, 1905. 39-40. eBook.

I thought this was so interesting because I never looked at it from the perspective of life imitating art. I always considered art to be a reflection of what was happening in the individual’s life and the world around them. I don’t necessarily fully agree with what he’s saying but after having looked at the topic from this perspective, I believe that they may influence each other rather than one controlling the other. I do believe that a fundamental basis of life is the desire for expression and so in that way, art if life. But I also think that it depends on the individual. Some people do believe that art if life as well as a reflection and influencer and so they may agree that art is life. However there are also people who do not believe that art has that big of an impact on their lives.