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Although the narration states Dorian's intent in
In answer to the OP, Dorian definitely stabbed the canvas, but as the painting WAS the real him, he in effect committed suicide.
As to what happened to his body and clothes; I suppose some lightning putrefaction/liquefaction took place, destroying everything but the relatively "eternal" precious stone and metal. A purely horror touch. :)
Wilde was critical of aestheticism, Ellmann gives a good discussion of this, explaining the conflicting attractions of Ruskin and Pater, socialist humanism and amoral pursuit of beauty. I'd say that's definitely a possible reading, musecure.
Wilde could see that he was being offered not only two very different doctrines but two very different vocabularies. Though both Ruskin and Pater favored beauty, for Ruskin it had to be allied with good. For Pater it might have ever so slight a touch of evil--he rather liked the Borgias, for example. Ruskin spoke of faith; Pater spoke of mysticism, as if for him religion became bearable only when it overflowed into excess. Ruskin appealed to conscience, Pater to imagination. Ruskin invoked disciplined restraint, Pater allowed for a pleasant drift. What Ruskin loathed as vice, Pater caressed as wantoness.--(Four Dubliners, Richard Ellmann)
Oh, yes. It's been observed that Pater's Studies in the history of the Renaissance is the first step to understanding DG. Wilde had it almost by heart.
"Every moment some form grows perfect in hand or face; some tone on the hills or sea is choicer than the rest; some mood of passion or insight or intellectual excitement is irresistibly real and attractive for us,—for that moment only."
That's a tremendously interesting thought, I've looked into Pater's book here and there and every page resonates with DG now; you found a particularly apt example. The pathos of evanescence (Faust's heartbreaking "verweile doch, du bist so schön"... stay, linger, you are so beautiful...) pushing one onto pernicious quests to eternalize the moment.
Hmmm, yes, in a way--but more as a side-effect of painting, if you see what I mean? To Basil, it's not the moment that matters, but Dorian, and to him the portrait is important not because it records Dorian's youth, but his own feelings. It is an expression of Basil's love, in the gesture (why he wanted to paint him) and in fact (what appeared on the canvas). This is why he twice decides not to exhibit it. He thinks that that--the shameful expression of his love--is the reason Dorian hides the portrait (and Dorian encourages him to think that).
He also wants to paint Dorian again. Basil wants to capture love, not a moment of time.
Surely Basil would have noticed. And, remember, from this point on Dorian begins to lead a double life, so secrecy is important.