In the preface of Oscar Wilde's novel, "The Picture of Dorian Gray", there is a list of many guidelines which he proposes dealing with art and such topics. The first of these items listed is stating that "The artist is the creator of beautiful things." (p 41) . Ironically, in the novel which follows, Wilde does not follow his own guideline, contradicting his own statement. The events which occur as a result of an expression of art, display that an artist is not only capable of creating beauty, but also of creating ugliness and evil.
Basil Hallward is an artist who paints a portrait of the young and beautiful Dorian Gray. At first, the piece is wonderful, displaying the young mans loveliness perfectly. Both the painting, and Dorian are beautiful, and in seeing the painting, he realizes the importance and possible influence his looks could achieve. This is apparent in the description of what occurs to Dorian as he looks at the artwork; "the sense of his own beauty came on him like a revelation." (p 65). Lord Henry states that "It is the real Dorian Gray, that is all." (p 67), something which is proven unbelievably true in the events to come.
The revelation of Dorians beauty to himself begins the ruining of his character. His wish that he could remain young and the picture turn old is realized, and as the novel continues, Dorian's many sins seem apparent in the face of the painting. Because of the painting, young Dorian acquires a new found belief in the importance of physical attractiveness. When later speaking to the painter, Dorian plainly tells him "you finished the portrait of me that revealed to me the wonder of beauty." (p 187). Dorian grows to becomes a vein, evil person proving that the artists work has created a monster who is sinful enough even to kill. .
The face in the painting does in fact appear to grow old and evil in contrast to Dorian remaining youthful looking for the years to come.