Faiyum Mummy Portraits
“The Picture of Dorian Gray explores themes of hedonism, aestheticism and narcissism. In today’s society, these themes are presented shamelessly through social media, but so often these themes are portrayed through a hetero-normative lens. For Queer people, this can mean living up to a standard of masculine or feminine beauty conventionally associated with their birth gender, even if this conflicts with their true identity.
In a society captivated by aestheticism; truth, visibility and freedom of expression are powerful steps towards a celebration of all forms of beauty”
Venus Vienna (Manchester Drag Queen)
These panel portraits were produced during the Roman Period in Egypt. These portraits developed from a fusion of Egyptian and Roman traditions. There is circumstantial evidence to suggest that Oscar Wilde saw these paintings at an exhibition at the Egyptian Hall in London and they were one of his inspirations for to write The Picture of Dorian Gray.
Oscar Wilde is well known for his conviction for what were then illegal homosexual acts (he was pardoned along with 50,000 other men by the 2017 Policing and Crime Act that has become known as the ‘Alan Turing Law’). The green carnation that Wilde famously wore may have subtly indicated his sexuality to others and has become a symbol of homosexuality.