It is funny how when we think about Oscar Wilde, the first thing that comes to our mind is Dorian Grey or The Importance of Being Ernst. But behind this writer there's much more, as we can see in the essay "The Critic as Artist".
The English author shows a whole phylosophical theory on how Criticism is as much important as Art itself. According to him, criticism is the wheel that moves the gears of Art. Probably this is one of the most revolutionary concepts on his essay, especially in a time when the job of the critic was not as appreciated and broadcasted as it is today. This contemporanously is surprising, yet visionary.
It is also really the concept of individualism and personality the text reveals. "If you wish to understand others you must intensify your own individualism" (910) or "it is only by intesifying his own personality thatthe critic can interpret the personality and work of others" (910). These ideas are really revealing and get along with the ideas about what a good critic should be, related especially with the revolutionary figure of Pauline Kael in the 20th century.
Finally, the idea of "Criticism is itself an art" (904), is quite new. Wilde considers that writing about art becomes an art itself, because its raw material is Art. It made me think about ekphrasis, the description of visual arts that many poets and writers have done along History and that constitute a piece of art, as well as a piece of criticism. Sometimes, the critical pieces can became real pieces of literature, of art made by words out of a pictorical, dance, musical masterpiece.
If critics can't have the thing to be an artist, they can always become an artist with their pens, writing wonderful stuff about the work of others, "putting them into a form that is at once new and delightful" (904), [...] "a creation within a creation" (904).
Quotes from WILDE, O. Excerpt of the Part I of The Critic as Artist.