Tag Archives: rebellion

Only the ugly is beautiful, only the ugly is likeable

The “Pégase romantique” caricature by Jean-Gabriel Scheffer (above) depicts from left to right  Petrus BorelVictor Hugo, and Alexandre Dumas sitting on a giant crayfish. Or is that the  pet lobster Gérard Nerval supposedly took for walks in Paris on the end of a blue ribbon?

The motto of the caricature (top) reads ‘rien n’est beau que le laid; le laid seul est aimable,’ which translates as “Only the ugly is beautiful, only the ugly is likeable,” illustrating the cult of ugliness professed by for example Victor Hugo (“Le beau n’a qu’un type ; le laid en a mille“).

I found this image while researching the bouzingo, a group of minor French artists active in 1830s Paris. The source of the image is the excellent piece of grey lterature Pétrus Borel: Background, Reception and Interpretation[1] (1999) by Erik S. Bovee.