Finding ‘A Student’s Cell’

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Rummaging through the dark and dusty recesses of the family attic while I was back in the UK this year, I was excited to find ‘A Student’s Cell’ sitting amongst of a pile of old Artworks.

It was painted a long time ago while I was still at school, and all I could remember was that it was inspired by an Oscar Wilde poem. But then, as I sat there looking at it under torchlight, it all started coming back to me….

As a part of our A-level examination we were give a number of words with which to base a painting on.  I chose the word ‘decadence’ and set about my research…

The ‘Decadents’ were a movement of 19th century poets and Artist’s concerned primarily with aesthetics over any other function or purpose that Art may serve (social or moral instruction for example). As such, the Decadent poet conceived a deliberately amoral being opposed to the prevailing values of a materialist 19th century industrial society.

Oscar Wilde’s poem ‘The Sphinx’ exemplifies the Decadent poet’s intent, whilst Aubrey Beardsley’s lavish, pen and ink drawings adorned some of Wilde’s published work.

’A Student’s Cell’ was my interpretation of this history.

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