The painting itself is an overarching, ever-present symbol in The Picture of Dorian Gray, not just in the text but to nearly all of its characters. Though physically it is nothing more than a two-dimensional object, it becomes the main antagonist of their lives and has such far-reaching and powerful influences that it seems almost to be more alive than Dorian himself. It represents beauty, mortality, time, and art, all the major themes of the book, and its degradation literally presents to us the dangers inherent in these ideas.
The Picture Quotes in The Picture of Dorian Gray
The The Picture of Dorian Gray quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Picture. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one: Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Penguin Classics edition of The Picture of Dorian Gray published in 2003.).
The Preface Quotes
To reveal art and conceal the artist is art’s aim.
Chapter 1 Quotes
Chapter 2 Quotes
Chapter 9 Quotes
“One day, a fatal day I sometimes think, I determined to paint a wonderful portrait of you as you actually are, not in the costume of dead ages, but in your own dress and in your on time.”
The Picture Symbol Timeline in The Picture of Dorian Gray
The timeline below shows where the symbol The Picture appears in The Picture of Dorian Gray. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
...Basil Hallward’s house. Lord Henry Wotton and Basil are together in the studio, considering the portrait that Basil has been working on, of a slim, handsome youth. Henry praises it very... (full context)
...interested in faithfulness and lasting, so they agree to have a capricious friendship. Basil is painting with a great passion. When he is finished, Henry congratulates him. It is certainly the... (full context)
...he becomes more and more distressed, he notices that red stains have grown on the painting, like blood. He considers making a confession. His own motives now seem completely unclear to... (full context)