This chapter resituates Oscar Wilde’s short story “The Birthday of the Infanta” in the trajectory of Wilde’s development as a critical theorist. It argues that it was Whistler’s famous “Ten O’Clock Lecture,” a barely veiled attack on Wilde as both an art critic and as a subject of same-sex desire, that incited Wilde to conceive of his “fairy tale” as a thorough riposte in which Wilde demonstrated his considerable skills as an art critic and aesthetic theorist. Taking up the overdetermined canvas of Velásquez’s famous self-portrait and painting about painting, Las Meninas, perhaps the most famous painting in the history of art, and an important painting for Whistler, Wilde, and 1860s British aestheticism, Wilde appropriates Velásquez’s conceit and writes his own self-portrait and self-reflection on the nature of art and sexuality, seeing in Velásquez’s elaborate conceit the story of his own origin as an artist and as a subject of (same-sex) desire. Anticipating both Foucault and Lacan’s readings of the painting, Wilde registers the painting’s concern with representation and sexual subjectivity, and goes so far as to conceptualize the entrance into the world of representation as castration.