Rien n'est beau que le laid; le laid seul est aimable  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

"Rien n'est beau que le laid; le laid seul est aimable" is an anonymous French dictum. It translates as "only the ugly is beautiful, only the ugly is likeable" and is in fact a parodic paraphrase of "rien n'est beau que le vrai; le vrai seul est aimable" by Boileau.

The phrase was popular in the mid 19th-century and was used famously by Champfleury in an 1855 open letter from Champfleury to Sand, in which he said "Vive le laid ! le laid seul est aimable," but can be found as early as the 1840s in Journal d'un voyage en Orient (1844) by Joseph d’Estourmel.[1]

Théophile Gautier, in his review of A Burial At Ornans of 1851 said that "our young painter" [Courbet] had parodied Nicolas Boileau by saying "only the ugly is beautiful, only the ugly is likeable."



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Rien n'est beau que le laid; le laid seul est aimable" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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